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PYLON AT KARNAK (North Side). 

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The Night of the Gods 




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Volume I 


Printed by Harrison & Sons Saint-Martin's Lane 
Published by Bernard Quariich 15 Piccadilly 


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Qubd St non hie tantus fructus os tender etur, et si 
ex his studiis delectatio sola peteretur ; tamen, ut 
opinory hanc animi remissionem, humanissimam cu: 
liberalissimatn Judicaretis, At hcec studia adolescen- 
tiam agunty senectutem oblectant ; delectat^ domi^ non 
impediunt foris ; pernoctant nobiscum^ peregrinantur, 
rusticantur ; ' adversis perfugium ac solatium prcebent. 
— Cicero Pro A, Licinio Archia poeta, vii. 

ri\ii»iC.L/ ,\\ U.. t'h.' T'A.X'' 

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Now entertain conjecture of a Time 

when creeping murmur and the poring Dark 

fills the wide vessel of the Univ^se. (Hm, V. \\\ i, i , 

— Dlsputatio Circularis ,,. ... .,, ,,. ,.. 5 

Axis Myths, 

1. The Axis as Spear, Pike, or Pal .,, ,., ,<- .,. 51 

2. The God Picus ,,. _ _, _, 40 

3. Divine names in Pal- .., ,», ... .,. ,., 43 

■ 4. The Rod ^nd Rhabdomancy ... ,„ , 52 

I 5, The Fleur-de-Lis at the Axis point ... _. ., 62 

I 6. The Trident ... ,.. „, .., ,., ... 70 

7, The Aopv and 'iVp7r?7 of Kronos ... .* ... .,. 80 

8, Divine names in Harp- and Dor- ,.. ... ,., ... 89 

The Stone. 

9, Natural Magnets ; Meteorites; B^th-El5*.. .., ... 94 

(LtKLdslon^ 96.— B^th-feu ill.) 

10. The Loadstone Mountain. ^Crete (138) ,., ... ... 129 

(Kocking-S tones 141. H 

ir. Mdyini<^, Medea, and Maia.~Toijchstone (150) ... ... 14a 

(Mdasine I49.^;)g*s Bed (51.) 

12. The fXdipus myths ,,, .., ,.. .„ .,. ... 153 

13. The Cardinal Points (TTie Number Eight lao.— Sixteen 1S2. 157 

— Tw«rlv*c 173*— the AmpbiKtiones 179.) 

14. The Four Living Creatures ... ... ,,. ,„ 1S4 

The Pillar. 

* J I S- The Axis as Piliar (The Obdlsk 198} 1 89 

^ 16. Divine names in Lat- ... ... ... .,. ... 209 

^H 17. The Tat ^ of Ptah. — The Tee and Umbrella (220) 213 

^^ (The Single Leg 215.) 

18. The Heavens- Palace and its Pillar (The Grwi 231) .,. .., 224 

19. The Colophon ... ,., ... .,, .,, .., 232 

20. The Dual Pillars. -^Pillar Wind-gods (242) ... ... 235 

21. The Dokana or Gate of Heaven ... ... ,.* ... 245 

A 1 

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The Pillar-Axis as Tower. 

22. The Round Towers of Ireland. — Pillar-stones (269) ... 260 

23. Some other Towers ... 282 

[The Tomoye.] (This section is omitted for the present.) 

The Axis and the Universe-Tree. 

24. The Tree-trunk 289 

(The Beanstalk 294.— the Barber's Pole 301.— the Maypole 302. — the 
Reed 303. — Osiris 306. — Tree-Worship ^14. — the Rowan-tree 320. — 
Tree and Well 322.— the Thorn 323. — the Mistletoe 325. — Swinging 
326. — from Post to Pillar 330.) 

25. The Christmas-tree 334 

26. The myths of Daphn^, and of AgLauros (344) 341 

27. The Gods of the Druids 350 

The Axis as a Bridge 

The Dogs at the Cbinvadh Bridge 

The Boat 

The Ladder 

(These sections are 
omitted for the 

Polar Myths. 

1. The Navels^T— Navel Hearthfire (362). — Sanctuary (367) 359 

2. The Rock of Ages. — The God Terminus (387) 381 

3. The Arcana (Robbing the Treasury 396.— the Cista Mystica 406.— the 394 

Ark of Bulrushes 410. —the Chest of Cypselus 413. — the Christmas- 
Box 423.) 

4. The North (The Graha 427.— the Augur's Templum 430.— Northern 425 

Burial 448. —the liyperBoreaps 451.— the North contra 457.— North 
and South 460.) 

5. The Eye of Heaven (The CyclOpes 470. —the LaiStrygones 472.— 464 

the ArimAspoi 475. — the Evil Eye 477.) 

6. The Polestar (The Most High 486.— the Judge of Heaven 490.— 485 

Polestar- Worship 500.— Sirius 504. — Polestar-Worship in Chma 513. — 
Tai-Yih 5I7.-Tai-Ki 518.— Shang-Ti 521.— Triads 525.— Tao and 
Taoism 527. — Lao-Tsze 531. — Polestar-Worship in Japap $35.) 


a. Additions and Subtractiorvs ^ 545 

j8. ^keleton of the Argument 569 

7. Lapses and Relapses ... 580 

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The Night of the Gods. 

Disputatio Circularis. 

All things that move between the quiet Poles. 

(Marlowe's Faustus i, i, 54.) 

ALMOST beyond belief is the endless number of human 
/ \ sacred ideas founded in a supreme reverence for the revo- 
jL \^ lution of the Universe round the Axis of the Earth, and 
for the almighty Power that accomplishes that stupendous All- 
containing motion. 

Many of these ideas are still extant as concrete and ineradic- 
able expressions in the languages, liturgies, and sciences of men. 
The Heaoens \ Every text-book on astronomy is written in the ter- 
art telling, } ^inology, and the Society that is named Royal talks 
the idiom. Words and phrases and theories begotten of those 
ideas have become compacted into the constitution of our minds ; 
and they are all of them — it is a mightiest satire upon the insane 
pride of the intellect — all of them founded upon a universal Fact 
which is a Lie. 

Let any reader who here hesitates at the very threshold, try 
and put that most simple and useful of untruths " the sun* rises" 
into words that accurately convey the facts of the case ; or explain 
the origin of the word ' heaven ' ; or get to the Ding an Sich of 
the Atlas myth on any other than the Axis theory favoured in 
this Inquiry. 

It is hard luck that a book like this, which aims at some sort 
of scientific system, should thus have to start from, and base its 
investigations on, a falsity ; that its author should have to reverse 
In endless \ the " E pur si muove " ; to constantly maintain (but 
error hnrud. j ^^y jj^ Myth) that the heaveny do move round ; to 
make that supposititious mt)tion the primum mobile of his theories ; 
and to argue and re-argue from positions that are untrue in 

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Nature ; although all the learned to a man believed in them not 
so very long ago, and the huge majority of human beings do so 
believe invincibly at this moment. 

It is here maintained that the everlasting, stupendous, unfailing 
rotation of the Heavens round the Earth — which was an ever and 
everywhere present overpowering universe-fact — must, from the 
earliest times when human intelligence had grown-up to the notice 
of it, have exercised an enormous and fascinating and abiding 
influence upon the observant and reflective, upon the devout 
portion of mankind ; and must have provided the supreme initial 
origin of the greater Cosmic Myths which concern themselves with 
the genesis and mechanism of the Universe. 

The earliest and simplest leading conclusion formulated as to 

this rotation, by the inhabitants of our hemisphere, must have been 

The point \ that it was accomplished around a fixed point, the 

quiescent, j North Pole ; and the next deduction was that in 

that point, that pivotj there terminated a fixed and rigid Axis, 

about which the rotation was effected. "The Nature of Man," 

wrote Bacon when treating of Logic, "doth extremely covet to 

have somewhat in his Understanding fixeid and immoveable, and 

as a rest and support of the mind And therefore, as Aristotle 

\ endeavoureth to prove that in all Motion there is 

iruana. j- ^^^^ point quiescent ; and as he elegantly expoundeth 

the ancient fable of AtLas (that stood fixed and bare up the 

heaven from falling) to be meant of the Poles or Axle-tree of 

heaven, whereupon the conversion is accomplished, — so, assuredly, 

men have a desire to have art AtLas or Axle-tree within, to keep 

them from fluctuation," and so forth. 

It 4s thus thdt, seizing the typital instiaince of thie first motion 

imparted by the Japanese Creator-gdds, this Inquiry starts from the 

\ churning of th^ univei-se-ocean with the Spear-axis ; 

rea lon-my . j" ^^ ^ ^^ endeavours to bring fbrth the Deus ex 

machine, and to evolve system out of the chaotic empuddlement 

of myths with which it has to deal. 

Thus, too, is here posited as it were a diVisioh of Cycletic or 

cycietie \ * Helissal or Kinetic Mythology, a mythology of 

Mythology, ) cosmic Machinery-irt-hiotion, which may disclose to 

us even archaic glintmerirlgS in China of palpitating nebulae, and in 

Phoenicia of meteoric clashihgs in spaA. 

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Disputatio Circularis. 


The next step of admiring, if not awe-struck and adoring, human 
minds would have been to seek for the Power that was compelling 

the rotation ; and it will perhaps be conceded as natural that the 
Director, the Swayer of the Whole should be piaced in imagination 
I at its sole and highest point quiescent, its pivot, its 
qmu. j cheville ouvriere, the Northern Pole. 
Anyhow, that was what was done ; and one of the matn objects 
of this Inquiry is to identify the Polar Deity with the oldest, the 
•i suprcmcst, of the cosmic gods of all early Northern 
' ■* religions ; with the Ptah of the Egyptians, the 
Kronos of the Greeks, the Shang-Ti of the Taoists and the Tai-Ki 
and Tai-yi of the philosophic Chinese, with the Ame no miNaka- 
Nushi of archaic Japan. This is attempted in the chapters con- 
cerned with the Poles tar and the mythic sacred ness of the North ; 
where also the Eye of Heaven and the Omphalos myths find their 
local habitation. There too— at the end of the Axis — arc placed 
those Triune emblems, the fleur-de-lis and the trident ; while the 
Axis itself becomes the Spear, Lance, or Dart of so many classic 
myths, the hopu of Kronos, the trident-handle of Poseidon , the 
typical Rod of rhabdomancy (which is also a branch of the Universe- 

The Magnetic Pole further gives occasion for the connexion 

of the North with the natural Magnet, and thence with all .nacred 

) animated Stones r with meteorites, the touchstone 

' and bcth-Kls; and thus is stonc-worship centered m 

the Polar Deity. 

Closely connected with the pole, and more closely with a 

former Poles tar, by their position and their revolutions, the Seven 

Stars of Ursa Major arc shown to have been the originators of the 

TAr s'tfm^r } hoHncss of thc Jncvitablc Number Seven, And to 

Sfzvn. ) ^j^-g J have been driven, almost against my will, to 

^conjoin a somewhat fuji discussion of the Cabiric gods. 

All the Atlas-myths, endless and worldwide, are referred to the 
Axis ; which is also made the Pillar of the heavens, and the type 
and original of all the sacred pillars of the world. From the Piliar 
fnsk Rmmi ) the Inqittrj naturally proceeds to the Tower ; and 
Tau;^. ) qI^Ijii^; all obelisks, towers, and steeples as having 
been initially sacred worship-symbols of the great tower of Kronos, 
of the mainstay of the Universe. 

Other chapters pursub the symbolism of the Axis in the trunk 

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The Night of the Gods, 

of the Universe-Tree, and in the Bridge to the other world ; which 
are two of the commonest and most wide-spread " properties " in 
the world-myths. The Tree in combination with the Seven stars 
is made to give us the Seven-branched Candlestick ; and the Bridge 
is also treated-of as the Ladder. 

The revolution of the heavens is more directly figured forth 
in the Winged Sphere, which it is here maintained is the true 
significance of what has been viewed, by a greatly too linaited 
The winged \ interpretation, as merely a winged "disk," in the 
''disk:' j Egyptian, Assyrian, and other mythologies. With 
the Winged Sphere too are connected all the divine birds and man- 
birds, and the winged scarab, and all the divine feathers worn by 
Egyptian deities. To this category, and also to that of the triple 
emblems, belongs the Prince of Wales's plume. The Universe- 
Egg can scarcely be separated from the consideration of the divine 

The Dance of the Stars is another figure for the revolution of 
the heavens; and that leads to the discussion of religious and 
-I " round " Dancing, which is found among all races of 
<m ances, f ^^^^ together with circular worship by walking round 
Trees, Shrines, and other objects ; all of which, it is maintained, 
are ritualistic practices in the archaic worship of the revolving 
heavens and their god. With this subject the chapters on the 
Salii and the Dactyli also connect themselves. 

The transition to the sacred symbolism of the rotating (but 

not the rolling) Wheel is here easy ; and I do my best to convince 

Tke mueio/\ niy readers that the Wheel-god of Assyrian and other 

ike Law. j symbolism is the Compeller of the Universe, and 

that the turning of the " Praying"- wheel is a devout practice in 

his worship. The Fire-wheel then leads to an important conclusion 

as to the production of Fire in religious ceremonies ; and the wheel 

of Fortune is identified with the revolution of Time which brings in 

his revenges. The Buddhist wheel of the Law is also referred to 

the revolution of the heavens, while the Law is that of the universe 

they enclose. And so the Suastika becomes a skeleton symbol 

of the wheel or the whirligig, and is connected also with the 

TfuRomaunt\ Labyrinth. Attention must also be directed to the 

o/TheRose. j ^^^ Romaunt of the Rose, which seeks to identify 

that famous symbol also with the Wheel. 

The conception of revolving Time leads to a somewhat full 

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Disputatio Circularis. 

discussion of the archaic gods who personified Endless Time and its 
circular symbols. The Old Man of the Mountain belongs to this 

That very common mythic figure for the heavens-vault — a 
supremely holy Mountain — is treated at some length ; and leads 
us to the Cone in religious symbolism. 

The starry heavens are also sought to be identified with white 
Argos and with the White Wall of Memphis as well as with the 
(mythic) city of Grecian Thebes. They are also the Veil of the 
universe, to which the chapter headed Weaving is devoted. The 
quadripartite division of the Chinese sphere is made to accord 
with the Four Living Creatures of Hebrew mysticism ; and the 
heavens-River is demonstrated in the Milky Way and in the 
perennial circulation of the atmospheric and terrestrial waters. 

It is impossible to do more in this place than briefly catalogue 

the other subjects treated-of. Such are, under the heading of the 

Ethcc genus \ Hcavens-mountain, the Parsi Dakhmas ; the heavens- 

<^n€, j ^Q2X of Egyptian and other mythologies, with which 
are grouped all Arks and the good ship Argo ; the stone-weapons 
of the gods, the Hindii Chakra, and the Flaming Sword ; the 
Cherubim of the Hebrews and Assyrians ; the Tat of Ptah, 
as an axis-symbol of stability ; the Round Towers of Ireland. 
The Seven Churches, the Seven Sleepers, and the Week 
are dwelt-on under the heading of the Number Seven. The 
heavenly Dogs of the passage to the next world are sought to be 
connected with the Egyptian * jackals', and other sacred dogs. 
The significance of Right and Left in worship, and the HindO 
Conchshell, complete this list. 

But it still remains to direct the attention of the reader more 
especially to the pages which deal with the names and myths of 
PalLas, AtLas, I^tinus, Magnus, CEdipus, and Battos ; of Sisyphus 
and TanTalos ; of the god Picus ; of Daphn^, AgLaufos and 
Dana^ ; of Numa Pompilius, of the Bees, of the Arcana, and of the 
Labyrinth. The genesis of Rhodes from the Rose( wheel), with 
the Colossus and the Colophon, also claim perusal ; as do the 
sections on Buddha's and all the other Footprints ; on the Gods 
of the Druids ; on the Dokana, which is brought down to the 
Lychgate ; and on the Omphalos and the Rock of Ages. 

But I must cease fretting the reader with this mere table of 

Digitized by 


lo The Night of the Gods. 

*' /'Comparative mythology," which already calls itself a 

^^ science, is as yet very much like the mythic young Bears 

ComparaHve \ with which it has in this Inquiry (under the heading 

mythology, f ^f f (^^ Number Seven and elsewhere) a good deal 

to do: it is amorphous. And even all its more shapely -works 

must somehow resemble the patchwork quilts — * crazy quilts ' they 

call them still in Ole Virginny — which were the Penelope's webs of 

our great-grandmothers. It is a science of shreds and patches, 

which all lie in a sort of gigantic lucky-bag, out of which everyone 

pulls very much what comes next to hand. The patches used to 

Thetaihr \ gct sortcd (by our grandmothers) according to colour, 

P<**^^*^ > or size, or texture, or chance ; and so sartor was 

resartus, the tailor was patched, perhaps over and over again. 

The scraps of mythological fact have also been sorted in various 
ways. There are the racial and the lingual classifications ; and 
the migratory system, which purports to be an advance on these. 
There is the divine or personal classification (not neglected here) 
which concentrates on the lay-figure of some one deity all the 
home and foreign drapery that seems to belong to him and to his 
analogues ; and there is the sorting of the myth-scraps according 
to their obvious identities : at times very much regardless of the 
individual divine entities they now purport to clothe. 

This last is the method chiefly followed here ; and it originally 
suggested itself doubtless because of the evidently heterogeneous 
"k mass of rags (borrowed^ stolen, and honestly come 
-> by) which even the oldest and most respectable gods 
had managed in the course of ages to darn and -work up into their 
harlequin suits. This particular method endeavours to pick-over 
the rags and, if not ever to reconstitute the first new coat, at least 
to predicate the loom or factory and the trade-mark of the fabric 
to which the scrap belongs. 

To do this on a large scale would require an expenditure of 
time and other resources which it would take several 'golden 
dustmen * to command ; and consequently, and also for the urgent 
reason that life is short, the present Inquiry is sadly defective in 
every direction. 

Digitized by 


Disputatio Circtdaris. 

All is fish that comes to this net. On fait fl^che de tout bois. 
The etymologist, the dreamist and nightmarist, the ttmonte, are 
all welcome here, to meet Euhemerus ; who may even worship his 
ancestors, and be frightened of their ghosts, in his moments perdus. 
Nor, in an Inquiry into matter which is mainly the product of the 
human fancy, can the theorist who draws upon his own imagination 
be excluded. But there is no rule without an exception, and one 
TA€ \ exclusion alone is made : the geographer — so to call 
migrutieHitt. j jjjj^ — ^j^q regards every myth as a migration, finds 
little or no admittance, even on business. The world is wide, 
though not so wide as it was ; there is still room for all ; and no 
cosmic myth is asked whence it came on the map of the world, but 
only on the chart of the imagination of the human race. 

Given a small planet, and an evolution of life and living things 
thereon ; and of men who> wherever they be on that planet, see the 
same heavens, and the same phases of those heavens — not, may 
be, at the same precise hour of the twenty-four, nor on the same 
exact day of the 360 and odd, nor even in the same year of the 
cycle — given these men and their (within planet limits) same 
mode of evolution, propagation, cerebral organisation, and 
nutriment ; with the sameness of their non-planetary objects of 
sense and thought ; and there would seem to be no reason why 
they should not every where — as naturally as any one where — 
evolve the same or very similar theories, mythological or otherwise, 
of their cosmic surroundings. ** The human mind," writes Sir M. 
Monier- Williams about the religious thought of India, " like the 
body, goes through similar phases everywhere, develops similar 
proclivities, and is liable to similar diseases." 

By ** planet limits " of course the accidents of latitude and of 
climate are chiefly meant ; and if a man will place himself in 
imagination at such a distance in space as will reduce this earth to 
the apparent size, say, of the moon, he will see at once that all 
these •* limits " are, roughly speaking, mere accidents in so far as 
the relations of the planet to the heavens are concerned. 

Or take a metaphysical illustration, and let earthly man identify 
himself with his planet as the Subject ; and then all the rest of the 
visible (and invisible) universe becomes for him the Objective^ the 
same objective which every other subject on the planet has to 
represent to himself. What wonder is it then that all these (by 
the hypothesis) identical subjects should take similar views of the 

Digitized by 


The Night of the Gods, 

same objective. Nay, one might carry it farther, and, presuming 
similar conditions — that is, (as may be seen in the course of the 
Inquiry) presuming a like inclination of the planetary axis, one 
might say that there is no reason why possible " men " on some 
other solar planet should not have evolved the self-same theories 
or cosmic myths (more or less) of the same objective heavens. 

The greatest objection that can be urged against the "geo- 
grapher " or migration ist — and it is a fatal one — is that his theories 
Ttu \ are forcedly exclusive. One migrationist says all 
migrationht. j astrognosy and myth aro^e in Egypt, and went to 
Chaldea ; another says Chaldean lore came from far Cathay ; yet 
another says the Greek gods came from India, or the reverse — for 
it isn't twopence matter. Each of these wants the field, or the 
shield, for himself; and may hold it for a time ; but one fine day 
some latent old scintilla of fact is discovered and blown-upon, 
blazes up anew, and explodes him and his theory in a jiffy. It is 
just the old Nursery Rhyme over again : 

The Lion and the Unicom fighting for the Crown ; 
Up jumps the little Dog, and knocks 'em both down. 

Nor can I see how it gets us any more forward even to prove 
indubitably that the Cosmic myths of country A did come from 
place B. Very well. Granted. Glad to hear it, even. And what 
of it ? What then ? It makes in reality no more approach upon 
the kernel of the question, upon the Ding an Sich that the myth 
enholds, than if you indubitably proved exactly the reverse. As 
"k Lobeck* remarked about the origin-spot of the cosmic 
^' ^ Egg, quaerere ludicrum est ; for the conception is 
one of the earliest theories that would occur to the rudest imagina- 
tion. Such a quest is like asking : Which side of an egg is first 
feathered? — a cryptic way of putting another universal sphinx- 
riddle : Which came first, the hen or the egg ? 

Prove to me, indeed, that the celestial myths of this Earth 
came from outside the planet, and you excite an interest far 
other than dilettante ; and that is the origin that every heavens- 
myth of the whole human world and of all human prehistory 
has been always trying, and is still trying, and will perhaps for 
ever try to prove, till the last syllable of recorded time. 

AglaophamuSf i, 473. 

Digitized by 


Disptitatio Circularis, ^3 

It has been said that the Imagination shall not here be 
denied its help. Much mythology has grown doubtless, 
Vain \ as much language grows, by some guess innate 
imaginatiim. ) power of growing and grafting and tangling ; but 
the great mass of mythological stuff has been projected by the 
human imagination. Why then should the imagination be 
^artee in its analysis ? The mind of starkly scientific mould is 
not the best outfitted for poetical explorations ; and mythology 
and poetry have always been irredeemably intermingled. Who 
would give much value to the word Science in such a phrase 
as "the science of Comparative Poetry"; and the only justifi- 
cation of a science of comparative mythology lies in the fact 
that there must be method even in the fine frenzy of the poet, 
if he would charm the imaginations even of the most poetical 

It is written above that the etymologist was received with 
open arms in these speculations; but this free admission has 

The > unhappily to be clogged with one important re- 
Eiymoioghi. ) striction. Philologia had to come rather as a 
handmaiden than as a mistress to Mythologia. 

It will be seen indeed throughout that the skeleton of a 
myth is employed as the masterkey of a verbal lock much 
oftener than any reverse operation is attempted. For it is now 
at last dawning upon a good few that the linguistic fetters — 
Sanskrit or other — in which divine Mytholc^;y has been, for 
a many recent years, forced to caper for our amazement, might 
well be hung-up with other old traps of torture, to edify the 

Words are emphatically not the prime authors of thoughts. 
The name of a god cannot — you may swear it by the god — 
be the maker of the god himself. This would be, in mytho- 
logical jargon, to have the Deity proceed from his own 
Word; to subordinate the cerebrating power to the organs of 
speech. That there is a subsequent reflex action of the formed 
word upon the thinking brain that produced it is another matter 
altogether — just so does every other product of the brain react 
upon it ; just so does everything else in Nature act, switchback, 
upon the brain : as (may be) the brain does in its turn upon the Will 
that evolved it But to say, and to found a cardinal theory 

Digitized by 


u Tlie Night of the Gods. 

upon the saying, that a certain concatenation of sounds in one 
human speech naturally and habitually produced or reproduced a 
divine ideal in the brains of men of the same or of another speech, 
is to heap-up impalpable sand, and build a card-house city on it 

Most god-names, like all their titles, are adjectival, descriptive. 
Tktnamtof > Tbus thcse names and titles irrefragably have, quite 
God. j naturally, their analogues, their coevals, perhaps 
their predecessors, in the ordinary words of the language in which 
they arose. By taking a whole class of resemblant divine and 
sacred words — first in one, ^nd theq in two or more tongues — and 
running them down backwards into their myths and meanings and 
roots, it is often found that a marvellous, an electric, light is 
diffused over the whole class. 

As examples of such a mode of treatment, the reader must 
mercilessly be requested to follow, step by critical step, the pages 
which deal with words in w^-, me- and mag- ; in the- ; in pal-^ 
dor- and tat- ; in mel-y in drii- ; in lab- ; in ag-^ ok- and arc-. 

It is in ffict contended here th^t the functions of a cosmic 
Nature-god and his consequent name and titles had an immense 
and far-reaching influence on (often) a whole class of other deities 
and their names, and upon the words of the rityal and the 
* properties,' and the names of the properties, of bis and their 
worship. This broadly defines the chief purpose for which 
Etymology is summoned as a witness in this Inquiry' where the 
nature, that is the function^ of the god is made -to account for his 
etymon, instead of the reverse process — his name educing his 
nature — being imposed upon the student. 

Poetry ever clings fast to old words, long long after they have 
dropped out of the workaday tongue. " If we take a piece of Old- 
English prose, say the Tales translated by Alfred, or yElfric's 
Homilies, or a chapter of the Bible, we shall find that we keep to 
this day three out of four of all the nouns, adverbs, and ve»bs 
employed by the old writer. But of the nouns, adverbs, and 
verbs used in any poem from the Beowulf to the Song on Edward 
the Confessor's death, about half have dropped for ever."^ That 
is to say that only 25 words in the 100 of prose were then old, while 
SO (or twice as many) were archaic in poetry. 

The same is true of myth and fairy-tale and, in an infinitely 
greater degree, of religious nomenclature. In no division of speech 

* T. L. Kington Oliphant's Old and Middle English, 1878, p. 489. 

Digitized by 


Dispulatio Circularis, ^5 

is the conservative spirit so strong ; and it is in divine names and 
sacred terms that we must seek for some of the earliest, the most 
gnarled, and the doziest old roots of every tongue. This to a great 
extent explains why our philological canons exclude such proper 
names from consideration. If the Gods were not — like the Rex 
Romanus — above grammar, they are at least older than philology.^ 

It is quite possible that those big coqjuring-rwords Esoteric and 
Esoteric and \ Exoterfc, with which Comparative religionites and 
Exoitric. j mythologians are wont to frighten each other, may 
not be nearly so big as we think they look and sound. A great 
deal of the ambitious theory- about the elaborate invention — as if 
anything greatly religious was ever invented ! — the elaborate 
invention of two sacred beliefs : " one to face the world with, one to 
show" to the initiated, must perhaps be exploded. I would 
especially indicate chapters 8 and 9 of the 5 th Book of Clement 
of Alexandria's Stromata as a first-rate instance of the glib and 
transparent boniments pattered to us from all time about these 
Esoteric and Exoteric peas and thimbles. 

There are at least three (or more) possible sources for this 
The evolutions \ double view of any myth, (i) A sacred fact being 

ojmytk. f stated, defined, as an extremely naked thing in very 
naked words by those who completely ^^wprehend it and all its 
analogues. (2) This statement's expounding, amplification (in 
order that it may be understSLuded of those who do not comprehend), 
by an analogy ; by one or many analogies or allegories ; or by 
paraphrases of the naked words ; or by parables, (3) By the 
true sense of the naked definition (or the true drift of the analogy 
or the allegory or the parable) getting lost in the process of time, 
or in the ebb and flow of the generations and revolutions of men 
and of nations. 

Now in case (i), the more recondite any matteir defined, and 
the more naked any definition is, the more difficult is it also to be 
completely understood without study of its context, or viva voce 
exposition of its full meaning. Here is one fruitful cause of the 
esoteric and exoteric bifurcation. As to case (2), here we have 

* " It may be observed that the proper names of the mythological and heroic times 
contain elements of the Greek language which sometimes cannot be traced elsewhere — 
cf. Zeus, Seirios, etc." (Preface of October 1882 to 7th ed. 1883 of Liddell and Scott*s 
Lexicon.) But as to Seirios, see now pp. 24, 453, 584 infra. 

Digitized by 


1 6 , The Night of the Gods, 

ample room and verge enough for all the mythological fables and 
legends ever handed down : if we besides give their full scope to 
the secretive dog-and-jackdaw faculty of the human brain, which 
delights in making cacJus and in cultivating covertness ; and also 
to the innate unlimited power and bent of the same organ for 
uttering and receiving the thing which is not : for * telling stories/ 
in point of fact ; and listening to them. 

This it is, too, that explains why, as one fire or one nail, so 
nothing but one god or one mystery drives out another. 

As to case (3), we need seek no further for the origin of that 
adorable bugbear of the pietistic and ritualistic mind 
in all and every race, in all and every creed, the 
* mystery of revealed religion ' ; which is never any more than a 
sphinx-riddle, and generally some mere archaic devinaille. But 
even that last word enholds the divine as well as the divining ; 
for there was an early time in all breeds of men when, in the 
matter of divines and diviners, six of one were half-a-dozen of the 
other, for their pious frequenters.^ 

Does it not seem that these are sufficient ways of accounting 
for the Esoteric and Exoteric pieces of business } And then, if we 
add on Euhemerism (which flourished long before Ey77/Ae/}09) and 
its reverse, and Platonic abstraction and idealizing, we get an 
immeasurable distance on the way towards a comprehension of the 
divagation, superfoetation, and overgrowth, of the Mythic Universe.' 

Mysteries, r 

Lobeck'* speaks of the " absurd symbolism " of the Platonists. 

At all events, if they proved nothing else, they were convincing as 

piatonian \ tp the marvcllous inventiveness of their speculative 

«*^- > powers, and their unlimited spider-faculty for emitting 

the tenuous cobweb. And myths are perhaps more maniable by us 

than in Plato's time. We are at least emancipating, if we can never 

* To the mystery of revealed religion belongs Taboo, which might be defined as a 
silencing of the brain by the feelings — that is by the Will. It is a not-speaking-of, a not- 
thinking-of, a not-enquiring-into the thing felt. So is intense and helpless reverence for 
the uttermost absurdities fostered ; so does it grow up and remain. 

' In Miss J. E. Harrison's Mythology of AtuUnt Athens (1890) p. iii, the ac- 
complished writer says : ** In many, even in the large majority of cases, ritual practice 
misunderstood explains the elaboration of myth." But this theory will not explain the 
elaboration of the ritual practice. 

^ AglaophamuSf p. 550. 

Digitized by 


Disputatio Circularis, 17 

wholly set free, our tremulous little minds from the theological dreads 
and trammels which enveloped him. That isavery consoling passage 
m Mr. Lang's most valuable Myth, Ritual and Religion (ii, 202) where 
ae, competent over many, boldly declares that " in fact the classical 
writers knew rather less than we do about the origin of many of their 
religious peculiarities." But from another point of view — that of 
the extreme difficulty of the subject — we must still agree with that 
subtle and powerful brain of Plato's* that it required a man of 
great zeal and industry, and without any sanguine hope of good 
fortune, to undertake the task of its investigation. On this K. O. 
Miiller* (too highly apprizing the total gratitude of men) said that 
the more difficult this ta:sk, and the less clear gain it promises, the 
more ought we to thank those who undertake it. 

In all mythologies, the complications, the overlappings, the 
reticulations, which reflect back the secular and multiple com- 

The ) plexities of Life, and of the Universe with its mani- 

Mythou^^icai > fold machinery, are ultra-infinite, infra-infinitesimal. 

And yet a mythologist is called upon unfailingly to 

expound the whole of the one, of the Reflection (or be for ever 

silent) ; while who is expected to explain the other, the Reality 

— Life and the Universe.? 

The pursuit of a clear idea through the tangled mass is too 
often all but impossible. When the chase is at its hottest, one is 
continually thrown out, as though whole barrels of red herrings 
were scattered across the track ; and then again, when after many 
a bootless cast the scent once more is breast-high, all at once there 
comes a grand frost, and it all vanishes into thinnest air. 

It was a saying of Jacob Grimm's : " I explain what I can ; I 
cannot explain everything." Mr. Andrew Lang says merrily of 
one of his admirable books : " this is not a Key to all Mytholo- 
gies " ; and I shall, over and above that, even venture to hold that 
the key we are in quest of is a whole bunch. 

A valuable remark of the late accomplished Vicomte Emmanuel 

de Roug^ finds its place here. Of course it applies equally to every 

Egyptian \ Other land under the heavens, as well as to Egypt ; 

myths, j j^j^j j^ jg unfortunately almost ignored by students 
of myth, instead of being constantly kept in the very forefront of 

> Phaed, 229. * Mythol, ch. x. 


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tS 7:4^? Night of the Gods. 

their work : " The Egyptian religion was a reunion of local cults. 
We consequently find in it a repetition of the same ideas under 
different types, and with important variants." It should be added 
to this that apparently incongruous qualities and functions are, for 
the same reason, foisted on to individual types. 

There is no myth or legend into which scraps of others have 
not strayed ; and there is perhaps none in which there are not 
details which seem to clash with its general central idea, its back- 
bone, its axis. With these apparent " faults " — to talk geology — 
there is no pretension here otherwise to deal ; but what is 
attempted is to co-ordinate the similar incidents and characteristics 
common to a vast and widespread number of myths, dissimilar it 
may be in their apparent general drift ; and thence to educe, to 
build up — or rather to re-edify — a system (of Heavens-worship) 
which has long either fallen to ruin, or been defaced, blocked in, 
overbuilt, by a long series of subsequent mythical, theological, and 
religious constructions. 

The anatomical truth — learnt only from comparative study — that 
no organ ever remains (that is, continues to survive) unemployed, is 
true also of mythology and theology. The disused, neglected, 
played-out personage or rite decays, becomes decadent, and 
disappears. The altar to "an Unknown God" could not have 
been the shrine of an undiscovered deity. He was a fallen god, 
whose very name had been forgotten. And that is why the 
reconstruction of a vanished cult is like the building up of the form 
of an extinct organism. Fortunately, the comparative method of 
treatment planes the way, taking now a fact from one and now 
a hint from another of the innumerable species and varieties of 
myths and creeds ; and even, again, finding some almost whole 
and sound — and now therefore startling — survival to illustrate the 

PoUstnr \ general theory. Such is, in the case of the Polestar- 

worshif, j ^vorship theory, the extremely interesting subsistence 
of the Mandoyo, Mendatte, or Stibban community ; a still contem- 
porary continuation of the old Sabaeans, far more striking than the 
romantic fables about the secluded persistence amid the recesses 
of the Lebanon of the attaching idolatry of ancient Greece. Here, 
in these Mandoyo, we strike not the coarse ore of the South-Sea 
savage, but a genuine old vein of solid metal ; worn indeed and 
£ear \ long-worked, but still unmistakeable in the 

worsh/. j crucible of the comparative student Such again 

Digitized by 


Disputatio Circularise 19 

are the startling survivals of the worship of the Great Bear 
in China and elsewhere, pointed out in the section on the Number 

Some mythological Axioms might be usefully sketched out in 
) a book which concerns itself so much with Axial 
""*'**'• i* mythological facts : 

(i) There is such a thing as mythological Time; and it is a 
very long time. 

(2) Old gods, like the Roman Empire and most other terres- 
trial things, have had their Rise, as well as their Decline and 

(3) The leading myths of these three periods of a divine 
existence in mythological Time may generally be separated, and 
should be carefully kept separate. 

(4) An infernal god has generally been a supernal deity ; and 
thus every " devil " is possibly a fallen god. Victa jacit Pietas ! 

(5) The tendency is for the young generation to oust the old, 
whether among animals, men, or gods. 

(6) The genealogies of the gods are therefore important 

(7) It is generally the rising generation that makes the 
War in \ successful ** war in heaven," and sends the oldsters to 
tuaven. ) ^ule in hcU. Sometimes however the rebel is not a 

family relation, and is defeated. It was the merest sycophancy in 
the poets to say that the gods know all, but have suffered nothing. 
(On this subject the Inquiry is necessarily busied here and 
there throughout ; but there is a section on Fallen Gods in the 
chapter headed " Kronos and Ptah." ) 

As to the paternal relation of the gods — the idea of the ** father 
of gods and of men," to whom human sacrifice was made, who ate 
LtPirt \ his own children — it is needless to seek any origin 
ktenuL } fQf it other than the natural human love, reverence, 
and real fear, if not hate, felt in turn for the producing, protecting 
and walloping, the often killing, and the once eating, parent 
Matriarchy would have g^ven worship of the Great Mother. 

"Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be 
long in the land " was the beginning of ** the fear of the Lord " ; 
and that honour and that fear were hammered into human children 

B 2 

Digitized by 


The Night of the Gods. 

from the beginning — from the beginning of the race as well as of 
the individual child— until the feelings have, so far as we can 
eliminate them for analysis, become that for which we have formed 
the word Instinct. 

Ancestor-worship is a mere extension of father and mother 

reverence ; at need only an inherited father and mother worship. 

Ancestor \ I have sccn my father and mother revering their 

worship. I father and mother from my tenderest years ; and 
so I have learned to revere them too. There are accessory 
causes (as there are in everything) but it is practically needless 
to pother about them here, as we are only discussing the parental 

The head of the tribe being the father of his people, — which he 
was at first in the actual physical sense, — and the divine right of 
kings, are easy natural stepping-stones of the firmest kind to the 
terms used in honouring the gods. To this day the Mikado of 
Japan is regarded, in Chinese phrase, as " the father and mother 
\ of his people." Thus, too, the gods got their genealo- 
^***' ^ gies, and these dovetail into the genealogies of men ; 
for actual generative communion and procreation between gods 
and women, goddesses and men, is superabundant in all mytholo- 
gies. Man — perhaps it was woman ? — made gods in his own image 
and likeness. 

Refinements upon the gross conceptions of genealogy began to 
arise later ; as when Phanes " appears," or Unkulunkulu " came to 
be." The first god of all is then without parents ; he is the great 
" I am " merely. But these were, by the nature of the considerant, 
mere unfiUing figments of the brain. The human understanding is 
still incapable, and may always remain incapable, of conceiving a 
beginning out of Nothing, except as a form of words. 

So the Egyptians said that Ra was born but not engendered, 
or again that he engendered himself. The Phoenician ROa'h 
becomes enamoured of his own principle, and calls the mystic 
coalescence Hipesh. Or again, in order to reconcile the belief in 
divine immortality with the practice of human generation, the 
Egyptian tied his mind into a knot, and Said that Amen was 
the fecundator of his own mother. Aditi (Space) the Deva-m&tr, 
the mother of the gods, is said to be at once the mother and the 
daughter of Daksha. Daksha sprang from Aditi and Aditi from 
Daksha, who is the Right, the Lawgiver, the trident-bearing creator. 

Digitized by 


Disputatio Circularise 

The " common form '* in Irish mythology of the reappearance of 
an ancestor-god in the person of his divine descendant^ is the same 
idea differently expressed. (The subject of god-genesis is pursued 
under the heading of **The Three Kabeiroi.") 

MANY a reader will have already detected that the 
Revolving-Heavens, the Axis, the Polestar, and the Great 
^ Bear theories very considerably neglect the Sun ; 
sun-'worfhip. I ^j^j j^^y. have been wondering why the Sun has as 
yet been scarcely mentioned. The fact is that the present student 
is not a Sun-worshipper, in so far as Cosmic and Cosmogonic 
mainspring myths are radically concerned ; and it was the manifest 
insufficiency of the solar theories to account for such myths that 
first prompted the elaboration of this Inquiry, 

The most recent and valuable r^sum6 of this subject that I am 
aware of is in the chapter on Aryan myths in Dr. Isaac Taylor's 
Origin of the Aryans, In my section on ** Polar versus Solar 
Worship " this subject is also touched upon ; and a great deal of 
further matter upon the point is even kept out ; for it is really 
beyond the present scope of this Inquiry, But it may here be 
noted that it is now a good long while since Eusebius in the 
PrcBparatio Evangelica ridiculed, with a good deal of humour, 
the old theories which resolved so many mythical heroes into 
the Sun. He remarked that while one school was contented 
to regard Zeus as mere fire and air, another school recognised 
him as the higher Reason ; while H^rakl^s, Dionusos, Apollo 
and Askl^pios (father and child) were all indifferently the 
Sun. Mr. Lang has seized upon this in his Myth^ Ritual^ and 
Religion (i, 17). 

Professor Rhys in his Hibbert Lectures on Celtic Heathendom 
(of which I venture to predict that the more they are studied the 

' Prof. Rhys*s Hibbert Lectures ^ 431. 

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2 2 The Night of the Gods, 

greater will their value appear) says (p. 435) that the divine hero 
" Cdchulainn is the Sun, but the sun as a person about whom a 
mass of stories have gathered, some of which probably never had 
any reference to the sun. So it is in vain to search for a solar key 
to all the literature about him." This is true not alone of 
Cdchulainn but of every so-called Solar hero and god in the 

Professor Rhys has some further natural and cogent observa- 
tions (pp. 379, 466) about the group of mythic beings loosely 
called dawn-goddesses ; and suggests that at least some of them 
would be as correctly named dusk-goddesses. He even goes so 
far as to say that Derborgaill behaves in the same way as "a 
goddess of dawn and dusk." 

The dawn-myth is a sweetly poetical and entrancing fantasy ; 
but it has been done to death. Athene springing from the 
"fc forehead of Zeus was " the light of dawn flashing out 
^^^' ^ with sudden splendour" (which it doesn't) "at the 
edge of the Eastern sky " ; and Hephaistos splitting open that 
forehead with his axe personified the unrisen Sun. Romulus was 
the dawn and Remus was the twilight. Saoshyant the Zoroastrian 
Messiah is to come from the region of the Dawn. The same might 
be maintained of most of the stars in the heavens : they too rise 
" from the region of the Dawn " ! Astart^ (Ashtoreth and 
Ishtarit) the queen of heaven, was the goddess of the Dawn. 
Mdusine and Raimond de Toulouse were the dawn and the sun. 
Hermes was a dawn-god or the son of the dawn, or else twilight. 
Prokris and Kephalos were the dawn and the sun. Erinnys was • 
the dawn, and so was Daphne. Cinderella "grey and dark and 
dull," was "Aurora the Dawn with the fairy Prince who is the 
morning Sun ever pursuing her to claim her for his bride." Saram^, 
the Dog of Indra, and the mother of dogs, was (like Ushas and 
Aruna! ) the dawn. Penelope was the dawn ; and her fortune was 
the golden clouds of dawn ; and she was also the twilight ; and 
her Web was the dawn also, which is perhaps the reductio of the 
whole thing ad absurdum. The Web (as here viewed in the 
chapter headed " Weaving ") is the gorgeous Veil of the Universe- 
god : 

So schafT' ich am sausenden Webstuhl der Zeit, 
Und wirke der Gottheit lebendiges Kleid. 

Thus the dawn-maidens and the sun-heroes are now farther to 

Digitized by 


Disputatio Circularis. 23 

seek than ever; and (contrary to what was once believed, as 
above) Aphrodite's identification with Istar has, says Dr. Isaac 
Taylor, put an end to her appearance in the part of the Dawn ; 
while Athene, instead of being the same dawn "creeping over 
the sky," is now " thought to be" the lightning. In the case of 
all these dawn and solar explanations of the supremest deities, it 
always seems to be forgotten that the day, the period of the 
heavens-revolution, not alone included the night, but began with 
it That the dawn, the clouds, twilight, and so forth, which 
are mere transient though striking phases of the Sphere, should 
(in the firm belief of modern scientists) have not alone masked 
but blotted out the Eternal reality of the Heavens from the 
. great body of human worshippers in ages long vanished, and so 
have got the upper hand in myth-ravelling, may well give us 

However, one must be cautious not to swing-back with the 
pendulum too far in the other direction ; but to admit the Sun to 
its__full share (and no more) of original and syncreted and 
assimilated mythic significance and symbolism. 

Dr. Isaac Taylor, in one of his masterly r^sum^s in the 
Origin of the AryanSy says that of all the Sanskrit analogies, 
that of Ouranos and Varuna has alone survived. But before 
sounding the Hallali ! over even this, we might humbly trust 
that it may be given to us to see why there was a Zeus OZpio^ ; 
why ovpo<i was a socket and ovph a tail ; why oipo<; was a term 
or boundary as well as a mountain ; why ovpov was a boundary 
as well as space ; and why (Ursa Major and Minor being 
roundabout the Pole) ursus^ ursa, ours (French) and ors 
(Provencal; are so close to oipo^ ; and why Kui/ovOu/oA, Dog- 
Tail, was a name for the Little Bear and the Polar star. Why 
should not Ovpav6<^ and Ovpavia be the dual deity of the 
Extreme of the heavens, like the Chinese Great-Extreme^ Tai-Ki 
the Polar deity? This would make plain all these points, and 
also explain (as is shown in the course of this Inquiry) the 
name of IlaXti/OSpo?. Ovpav6<; would thus have been the deity 
of the highest polar extreme heavens, before his name came 
to signify by extension the whole sky. Dr. O. Schradcr 

>^Ursus is now, I believe, considered to be certainly identified with the Greek, npKTos, 
see p. 46. 

Digitized by 


24 The Night of tlie Gods. 

says that "an Indo-European^ form for Greek Ou/oai/o9= Sanskrit 
VAruna has not yet been found."* 

The farbackest instance now extant of this idea of the Tail of 
the heavens is perhaps to be found in the explanation of the 
stellar universe preserved to us in the Vishmi-ptirAna^ where it has 
the shape of a porpoise, Sisum^ra, at the heart of which is Vishnu, 
while Dhruva the Polestar-god is in its tail. " As Dhruva turns 
he causes the sun moon and other planets to revolve also ; and 
the lunar asterisms follow in his circular course, for all the 
celestial lights are in fact bound to the Polestar by airy 
cords."^ Thus — not to be irreverent — it was the ts^il that wagged 
the dog. 

* It is proposed in this Inquiry to employ Mr. E. R. Wharton's convenient and 
logical term Celtindic instead of Indo-Celtic, Indo-Germanic, Indo-European or Aryan. 
Under the heading of " The White Wall " it is also suggested that the genuine original 
signification of the Aryans was the bright^ white^ shining star-gods of the heavens ; and 
that the adjectival name was taken by priests and people from their gods, from whom, by 
a universal human bent, they claimed and traced their descent 

' Jevons*s Prehist, Aryan Antiq. 412. See also the note at p. 46. 

5 See what is said elsewhere as to Seirios (Sinus). 

Digitized by 


Disputatio Circularis. 25 

THE practical labour in composing this Book has been to 
collect and focus on the several salient points of the general 
Tht Method. ) subject some of the endless traces of the Divinities of 

{again) j ^-j^g Univcrse-machine, its Axis, and its Poles, which 
are to be found scattered and lost or in the curious condition of 
the open secret in myth, legend, etymon, sacred literature, or 
common idioms. That this task is a practically endless one has 
been often forced in upon the writer ; but the best that could be 
done in a limited number of years has been done ; and now that 
the snowball has once been set rolling it may perhaps more 
rapidly accrete. One-man-power is a sadly insufficient force (sadly 
inefficient too, as the writer keenly feels) to apply to such a mass 
of matter. 

The divine Plato and the marvellous Kant (wrote Schopen- 
hauer)^ unite their mighty voices in recommending a rule to serve 
as thq method of all philosophising, as well as of all other science 
Two laws, they tell us : the law of homogeneity and the law ol 
specification, should be equally observed, neither to the disadvantage 
of the other. The first law directs us to collect things together into 
kinds, by observing their resemblances and correspondences; to 
collect kinds again into species, species into genera, and so on, till 
at last we come to the highest all-comprehensive conception. As 
for the law of specification, it requires that we should clearl> 
distinguish one from another the different genera collected under 
one coniprehensive conception ; likewise that we should not 
confound the higher and lower species comprised in each genus ; 
that we should be careful not to overleap any — and so forth. 

The first of these rules (which, Plato answers for it, were flung 
down from the seat of the gods with the Promethean fire) is, it is 
trusted, fairly well observed in this Inquiry ; but as for the second 
— well, the gigantic Octopus of mythology will not rule out as 
straight as the avenues of a brand-new American city. It is 
impossible even to arrange the chapters and sub-sections in an 

* Two Essays by Arthur Schopenhauer. (Bohns Series, 1889.) An admirable 
anonymous translation. 

Digitized by 


26 The Night of the Gods. 

ascending order of relative importance, or to prevent every chapter 
and sub-section from tangling its tentaculae into every other. 

It is feared also that the constant struggle towards such a 
logical arrangement, and the endless cross-references indispensable 
to the student that wrote and the students that read, have ruined 
all literary effect, and so ensured the fatigue of the most willing 
reader. For this, the indulgence of his second thoughts is craved. 
However strong the original desire may have been to make this 
Book light reading, it was very soon found out in the practical 
composition of it that the desire was to be another of the myriads 
that remain unsatisfied. However, by condemning the driest of 
the stuff to a smaller type, I often venture to invite the reader to 
that blessed pastime of skipping, which has so much to do with the 
flourishing of circulating libraries ; and even — it is sad to think — 
with the popularity of " our best authors." 

To provide an antidote, in the absence of a preventive of all this 
faultiness, a very full Index is offered. And thus, to those who 
-k find the book dislocated and discursive, and therefore 
^ obscure, I shall not have the assurance to say, as 
Stephenson did of the Drinkwater Canal, *' Puddle it again ! " ; but 
shall in all humility ask them to read-up any puzzling point by the 
Index, which (E. and O. E.) is as good as I could make it 

A tentative and suggestive rather than a demonstrative 
treatment of the very complicated and treacherous subjects dealt- 
with has generally proved imperative. This may convey a 
sensation of lack of definiteness ; but even that reproach is in such 
speculations preferable to an accusation of cocksuredness and 
dogmatism. It has been the constant desire, too, to invite the 
Reader to draw his own conclusions, rather than to hammer away 
at him with perpetual and perhaps superfluous pointing of the 
moral. Every student of mythology must still say, as Sheffield 
said of his writings : dubius, sed non improbus — full of doubt, but 
open to proof. And, of course, it goes without telling that the 
term '* Disputatio " is here used in its mildest classic sense of 
examination, consideration. 

While everywhere '* making for " accuracy, endeavours have 
been also made to avoid iotacismus. As the late and justly 
honoured Francois Lenormant wrote* of one of his books : Sans 
aucundouteon relevera dans ce livrc dcs fautcs, des erreurs. Elles 

* Otigiues de thistoire (1880) i, xxi. 

Digitized by 


Disputatio Circularise 27 

^taient inevitables dans une recherche aussi ^tendue, sur des 
mati^res aussi dlfficiles. Mais du moins, ce que devront je crois 
reconnaltre les censeurs m^me les plus s^v^res, c'est que T^tude a 
ete poursuivie consciencieusement . . . J'ai pu me tromper, 
mais 9'a ete toujours avec une enti^re bonne foi, et en me defendant 
de mon mieux centre Tesprit de systime. Hume justly admired 
Rousseau's lament that half a man's life was too short a time for 
writing a book ; while the other half was too brief for correcting it. 

I shall feel very grateful to every one who has the patience to 
go through this Book in a critical and enquiring frame of mind, 
Rtadm*tmdhe\ especially if he will be so good as to communicate 
notwnfth. j ^Q jYie (either privately or publicly) the errors and 
difficulties which must infallibly be detected. The more searching 
and unsparing the criticisms are, the better will they be for the 
final result of the Inquiry which is their object One leading 
reason for two heads with four ^y^s being better than one head 
with two, is that they enjoy the faculty, now generally denied to 
Sir Boyle Roche's notorious bird, of being in two places at once ; 
and thus possibly getting independent views of any one object 

It must be in great part an author's indivestible prejudice for 
his own production ; but I cannot help thinking that there is 
something that will remain even after the most destructive 
criticism of the theories here advocated. One ^clatante proof of 
their likelihood is the universal encounter, the endless ramifications 
and persistent up-cropping throughout mythology, of the evidences 
on which they are based. It is hardly credible, either, that false 
unfounded suppositions should be so coherent in their numerous 

Should any of these theories survive the ordeal to which they 
are now surrendered, it is hoped that it may be even possible for 
some few wide readers of critical and willing minds to come 
together and help in indicating and collecting further evidences of 
Heavens and Polestar Worship, either in the directions here 
inadequately sketched out, or in others. 

Trafalgar House, Selling, 

BY Faversham, 
\Xtk February 189 1. 

Digitized by 


28 The Night of the Gods. 

A SHORT series of brief articles on a few of the theories here urged 
^ appeared in print some three years ago* ; and I trust I do not con\mit 
too great a breach of etiquette in here thanking so eminent a publicist as my 
kind friend Mr. Frederick Greenwood for the space which he afforded them. 

That one writer on any subject human or divine should borrow from others 
has, at this stage of the literature of the world become inevitable ; and a 
comparative study like the present necessarily borrows its materials from 
innumerable quarters ; but nothing has been wittingly taken or set down 
without acknowledgment (in so far as reasonable space would admit). The 
crime has been committed from time to time, in matters not of primary 
importance, of copying references in trustworthy books without actually 
running them down in the original authorities. And it would have been an 
endless and fruitless work of repetition to have given individual references to 
the mere mythological-dictionary matter throughout. 

This Inquiry owes much to many friends and to many other writers ; 
though they are in no way answerable for the present deductions from their 
facts, and would perhaps hasten to repudiate my theories. There is as yet, 
thank Heavens, no such thing as orthodoxy in Mythology ; its field is one vast 
prairie or rolling veldt, where every man may " put out ^ and trek and lager 
for himself. 

Some names have already been mentioned, and to these must be added 
Dr. W. F. Warren, the able and versatile president of Boston University (Mass.), 
whose books on Cosmology are a mass of erudition and suggestion,' although 
many may regret they cannot go all the way with him in some of his conclusions. 
His active readiness to assist students is well known, and I have often 
acknowledged my separate obligations throughout this Inquiry 

It was subsequently to an examination of the late Lazarus Geiger's 
Dertelopmeni of the Human Rac^ and M. Henri Gaidoz's Le Dieu Gaulois du 
Soldi et le symbolisme de la Rouef that the Wheel and Winged Sphere theories 
here advocated took their final shape, llie name of the latter distinguished 
mythologist and Celtic scholar is frequently invoked ; and his criticisms have 
been highly valued. 

To Professor Sayce of Oxford and Professor Gustav Schlegel of Leiden I 
am indebted for kind encouragement, interest in my labours, and suggestions. 
To the latter's wonderful Uranographie Chinoise most of the matter on the 
Chinese Sphere is due; and with great generosity he has read my proof-sheets. 

My manuscript was indexed before reading Professor Robertson Smith's 

> ** Northern Lights," in the St, Jameis Gazette, December 1887. 
' E,g, The true Key to ancient Cosmology and Mythical Geography, and Paradise 
Found : The cradle of the human race at the North Pole, 

' Lectures and Disserta*iom, Translation of Dr. David Asher : Triibner s 1880. 
* Paris, Leroux, 1886. 

Digitized by 


Dispulatio Circularis. 29 

Religion of the Semites (vol. i). The valuable corroborative references to 
that very able book have therefore been inserted after this Book was practically 
complete. I owe him besides my thanks for his personal encouragement and 

Some of Sir G. Birdwood's work upon symbol questions was still, he 
regrets to confess, unstudied by the writer when the MS. was ready for the 
press ; still, several references (notably as to the deduction of the number 
Seven from Ursa Major) have, even so been inserted ; and the writer has 
besides to express his indebtedness to that authority upon Indian symbolism 
for excellent suggestions and much too indulgent criticism. 

Mr. Herbert D. Darbishire of St John's College, Cambridge, an expert in 
classical etymology, has been good enough to go through some of the work, 
and to point out the most erratic of my views. Of course he is in no way 
answerable for any of my aberrations. 

Japanese mythology has been taken as the starting-point of the Inquiry^ 
partly because of a slender acquaintance of some years' standing with 
Japanese,^ and chiefly because of its aptness to the matter in hand, and its 
general neglect. In this I have to acknowledge the greatest obligations to my 
old friends Mr. E. M. Satow and Mr. W. G. Aston, the authorities on the 
subject, whose patience in bearing with me is far beyond the return of ordinary 
gratitude. Attention is also frequently drawn to Professor B. H. Chamberlain's 
labours, especially his great translation of the Kojiki^ so profitable to the 

It is hoped that the Chinese characters and Egyptian hieroglyphs scattered 
through the book will not frighten people away. They are often inserted only 
to save certain students the trouble of referring to other books. The writer's 
acquaintance with either language is limited in the extreme, and he has here to 
express his obligations to his old friend Professor R. K. Douglas and Mr. 
E. A. Wallis Budge of the British Museum for their very kind correction of his 
blunders in these matters. 

All the facts relating to the Dervtshes have been submitted to the excellent 
Sh^kh of the Mevlevt Tekk6 of Cyprus, the devout and kindly Ess^id Mustafa 
Safvet DM^, to whom I am indebted for many facts, and for the stones of the 
Dervishes which are here figured. 

The lowest deep of ingratitude would be reached by anyone who works 
steadily at myth, symbol, and religion if he did not again and again declare the 
fruit he has at every handsturn gathered from Professor F. Max Muller's 
valiant undertaking and great achievement. The Sacred Books of the East, The 
valuable work especially of M. James Darmesteter, Dr. Legge, and Mr. E. W. 
West in the volumes of that series has been perpetually used and referred-to 
throughout And in this connection should again be mentioned another most 
important Japanese sacred book (which is not in the Series) Mr. B. H. 
Chamberlain's Kojiki} 

* Nishi-Higashi Kotoba no Yenishi ; A first Japanese Book for English students, 
by John O'Neill ; London, Harrison & Sons, 1874. 

* Trans, As. Soc Japan, vol. x. 

Digitized by 



The Night of the Gods. 

f n M 1 1 

1 T 1 ? t 

i 1 1 1 f 1 


1 f 1 i i i 1 

Digitized by 


Axis Myths. 

I The Axis as Spear, Pike, or Pal. 

2. The God Picus. 

3. Divine names in Pal-. 

4 The Rod and Rhabdomancy. 

5. The Fleur-de-Lis at the Axis-point. 

6. The Trident. 

7. The A6pv and "Apm) of Kronos. 

8. Divine Names in Harp- and Dor-. 

I. — The Spear, Pike, or Pal. 

IN the cosmogony which the Japanese fondly believe to be 
purely native, all the heavenly gods, the Kami, designate two 
of their number, Izansigi. and Izanami, male and female, 
brother and sister, to " make, consolidate, and give birth " to the 
land of Japan. For this purpose they are provided with a 
heavenly spear made of " a jewel." The pair stood on the " floating 
Bridge of Heaven," and stirred round the ocean with the spear^ 
until the brine was churned into the foam which has given their 
German name to Meerschaum pipes. As the spear was withdrawn, 
some of this coagulated matter, or curdled foam, dropped from its 
point, and was heaped-up until it became an island, the name of 
which means self-curdled, Onogoro. 

This Island has long been our property in Greek myth. Delos 
was the centre or hub of the Cyclades, which were so called " from 
a wheel," aTro kvkXov, and were situated irepl avrifv rfjp AijXoVy 
around this very Delos ; and AijXo^ (Se€Xo9) also meaning manifest, 
it was said that the island was so called because it became manifest, 
suddenly emerged from the sea. This seems a truly extraordinary 
parallel to Onogoro the " self-formed " (or curdled) island ; and as 
for its churning there is the similar operation, the " cycling " of the 

* Mr. B. H. Chamberlain's Koiiki^ pp. 18, 19. 

Digitized by 


32 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

Cyclades, of which D^os was the nucleus, the centre. One account 
of its origin said Poseiddn with one blow of his trident made it 
surge from the bottom of the ocean, a still further amazing 
coincidence with the Japanese legend, for it gives us the spear of 
Izanagi. D^los floated at first, but became fixed when Lat6 had 
brought forth, at the (Universe) Olive-tree there, or else when her 
son Apollo fixed it. The coming of Lat6 to the island, if the name 
be understood of a stone-pillar, an al-L^t, is a reproduction of the 
pillar of the Japanese island. 

[The Reader must get at least as far as " Divine names in Lat-" before 
giving its full weight to this.] 

The orders to the Japanese pair were " to make, consolidate, and 
give birth to this drifting land."* Hatori Nakatsune, a celebrated 
native commentator, said that Onogoro was originally at the North 
Pole but was subsequently moved to its present position.* 

Another name of Delos, 'Oprvylay may have nothing, to do with 
the 6pTv^ or quail, as an old construing would have it. It may be, 
I suggest, from Spoj to stir- up, to rise (we have exactly what we 
want in the Latin ortus, from orior) and 7^ or yea or yata, the 
Earth (although I believe that under the philological rules of letter- 
changes as they stand there is no way in which either yala or yij 
could become -yia). If however oprvyia and SpTv^ are to be 
referred to a same origin, we should have to take the sense of 
" dancing " or twirling : Latin verto, Lithuanian wersti turn, Welsh 
gwerthyd spindle, Sanskrit vart turn, vartakas quail ; which would 
make it the turned land ; and would entail a meaning absolutely 
similar to that of all the Varshas of HindQ mythic cosmogony. It 
would thus be the churned, or the up-risen land. Yet another 
Ddos origin-myth is this : Asterie was the daughter of Polos (the 
polar deity ?) and mother of Herakl^s ; or altrd she was daughter 
of the Titan Koios — the hoUower (of the heavens) ?, and sister of 
Lat6. Zeus cast her into the Cosmic Ocean — the fate of 
innumerable deities — and where she fell arose the island of Asteria 
or Ortugia or Ddlos. Asteria was also changed into a quail, which 
is a variant of the muddle already mentioned, and really means 
that Asterifi and Ortugia were one and the same. 

Again we have the churning idea in the Strophad^s, the turning- 
islands, of the Argo-voyage. They were also called Pldt^s, the 
Floaters; **And so it is that men call those isles the isles of 

* Kojikif p. 18. ' Mr. E. M. Satow's Pure Shinid^ 68. 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] The Spear Pike or Pal. zi 

turning, though aforetime they called them the floating isles."^ 
The change of name was connected with the descent of the 
bird-gods, the harpies. 

Rhodes, spun on the golden spindle of Lachesis at the prayer 
of Hdios, is I venture to suggest a similar myth (see "The 
Romaunt of the Rose," later on) ; and so is Corcyra (Corfu) whose 
name KopKvpa comes from xepxi^y a spindle. EupuTrvXo? son of 
Poseid6n, or a Triton, gave a c/od of earth to Eij^rffw^, another son 
of Poseid6n, and an Argo-sailor, light in the course, skilful in 
chariot-driving. This clod fell into the Ocean, or was thrown into 
it by Euph^mos on the counsel of Jason (I^s6n) ; and on the 
instant became the island Kallist^. Here, though we have no 
spear, we have a /r/dent-god, the Triton. 

In the Argonautikdn (iv, 1552, 1562) Trit6n, in the guise of a 
youth, takes up the clod, and Euph^mos (The Good Word?) accepts 
it, and has a very strange vision about it (1734 etc.) which recalls 
the union of heavens and earth. The clod speaks as a woman, 
says she is the daughter of Trit6n, and asks to be given back to the 
deep nigh unto the Isle of Appearing, 'Kva^% " and I will come 
back to the sunlight." He flings the clod, the /3&\o^y into the deep 
(1756), and therefrom arose the island Kallist^ (that is the most 
beauteous, simply) also called Th^r^s or Th^ra ; which is one of 
our Divine names in The-. Th^ras son of Autesidn (Self-made ?) 
brought men there, after the time of Euph^mos. This brings the 
voyage of the Argo (in the Argonautikdn) somewhat abruptly to an 
end. But the event and the ending may be thought perfectly 
appropriate, if it be looked upon as a legend of the creation of the 
Earth by the divine Word. The previous voyage of the Argo 
would thus be a pre-terrestrian series of celestial cosmic legends ; 
and if this view be novel, it is not devoid of supports. 

[See too what is said of Crete under the head of the Loadstone mountain.] 

I think no other interpretation of any of these "islands " will 
suffice, except that which views them all as allegories of the Earth 
itself And I now (upon the completion of the MS. of this 
Inquiry) add the deliberate conclusion that this churning of the 
Island is a leading and world-wide Creation-myth, of which tlie real 
significance is the spinning, stirring-round, or churning of tlie Earth 
{figured'forth as insulated in the Universe) by Deity, out of the 
Cosmic Ocean of the Waters, the Chaos of other cosmogonies. The 

* Argonautikdn, \\, 296. 


Digitized by 


34 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

Hindd Bhirata (or Churned ?) Varsha may be another example of 
the myth. 

Another island, which must reluctantly be left for future investigation is 
" the isle of £lektra daughter of Atlas " where the Argo was beached in order 
that her crew might be initiated.* This island is explained as SamoThrak^, the 
mysteries being those of the Kabeiroi, patrons of mariners. But it was also 
nigh to the heavens-river feridanos,' was sacred, and was the chiefest of isles. 
The Argonauts also visited the island of KirW, and in describing their visit to 
Korkura (Corcyra) Apollonius* gave us its oldest name of Drepan^, and the 
legend of the origin of that name, which was that beneath it lay the drepan^ or 
sickle with which Kronos mutilated his sire, alias the harp^ in fact This 
sickle was also said to be the " harpS '' of Ai/d^ XB6vi.a^ that is the Earth-goddess 
D^M^t^r ; for D66 once lived in that land, and taught the Titans to reap the 
corn-crop for her love of Makris (which is too dryptic and perhaps corrupt to 
arrest us). Makris was also a name of the island, and so was Scheri^ or 
Scheria (Order ? Law, T4o). However much these indidetlts and names have 
got muddled, they indicate the Earth, as an island in the Universe-Ocean. Its 
inhabitants the PhaiSk^s were of the blood of Ouranos. 

We have the island turning up later in Japano-Buddhic myth 
when an Apsaras appears in the clouds over the spot inhabited 
by a dragon. An island suddenly rises up out of the sea, she 
descends upon it and there espouses the dragon who is thus 

" According to Babylonian thought, the Earth came forth from 
the waters, and rested on the waters."* 

The island Hawaiki, the only land then known, perhaps, is clearly put for 
the Earth in a New Zealand hymn which says " the sky that floats above dwelt 
with Hawaiki and produced " certain other islands. Hawaiki here is for Papa 
the Earth-goddess, and the sky for Rangi the heavens-god.* 

There is another curious parallel to part of the Japanese 
creation-legend, in the HindCl allegory in which the gods and the 
demons, standing opposite to each other, use the great serpent 
V4sukt as a rope, and the mountain Meru or Mandara as a pivot 
and a churning-rod-^the "properties" have got mixed — and chum 
the milky ocean of the universe violently until fourteen inestimable 
typical objects emerge.^ One of these is the Universe-Tree 
P&rij^ti, bearing all the objects of desire. 

Plate 49 in Moor's HindA Pantheon clearly makes the mountain a central 

' Argon. ^ i, 916. ' Argon, , iv, 505. ' Argon, ^ iv, 990. 

* Satow and Hawes's Handbook, 

' Dr. E. G. King's Akkadian Genesis (1888), p. 32. 

• Taylor : New Zealand^ p. 1 10. 

' Guignaut*8 Creurer's Relig, de VAntiq,^ i, 184. Sir Monier Williams ; Hinduism » 
105 ; I^el, Thought and Life in India, i, 108, 344. 

Digitized by 


MylAs.Ji The Spear Pike or Pal. 35 

conical axial peak. It rests on the Tortoise (Vishnu in the Kurmivat^ra), and 
Vishnu in youthful human form is seated on the summit of Mandara. Vishnu 
is also seen among the gods who, pull-devil-pull-baker fashion, haul the serpent 
V4suki against the homed Asuris. 

The modem Japanese conmientator Hirata Atsutane (1776- 1843) said that 
the stirring round with the spear was the origin of the revolution of the earth.* 
Sir Edward Reed' repeated this theory of the spear being the Axis from Hatori 
Nakatsime ; and Dr. Warren' cites Sir E. Reed. It would be extremely 
interesting if we could consider this to be an indigenous idea ; but it must not 
be forgotten that there was one important modem source of information as to 
Western Ptolemaic Astronomy which was doubtless open to Hirata, in the 
treatises written in Chinese by the Jesuit Missionaries to China, by Sabatin de 
Ursis in 1611 and Emmanuel Diaz in 1614, and by others later."* Hirata too 
may have acquired at Nagasaki some further tincture of Western learning. 

Another case of creation by the spear is the achievement of 
Ath^n^ when she struck the ground and brought forth the Olive. 
Here we get the two axis-symbols of the tree and spear together ; 
and the spear-axis not merely produces the Earth but the whole 
Universe, which the tree figures forth. And was not the aged 
stump of this fallen miracle shown in the temple of Erechtheus 
on the Acropolis of Athens,* as the original of all the olive-trees in 
the world ? 

There is yet another strange parallel to the Japanese spear- 
myth in Garcilasso de la Vega.* The Inca told him that Our 
Father (the Sun) sent down from heaven two of his children, son 
and daughter, near the Marsh (Japanese Ashihara) of Titicaca ; 
and when they desired to rest anywhere, they were to stick into 
the ground a golden rod, two fingers thick and half-an-ell long, 
which he expressly gave them as an infallible sign of his will that 
wherever it would enter the earth at one push, there he desired 
that they should halt, establish themselves, and hold their court. 
After several fruitless efforts, the golden rod pierced the ground at 
the site of Cuzco, and embedded itself so completely that they 
never saw it more. We shall see that Cuzco was an omphalos. 

Hatori's and Hirata's gloss that Onogoro, when formed, lay under the Pivot 
of the vault of heaven, the North Pole, although it has since moved to the 
present latitude of Japan — may (or may not) conceal a recognition of the revolu- 
tion of the equatorial round the equinoctial pole, which revolution is completed 
n about 25,868 years. Of course this causes no change of the terrestrial pole. 

* Pure Shinid, 6Z. ^ Japatty i, 31. ' Paradise Founds 141. 

* Wylie : Notes on Chinese Literature^ 87. * Botticher : BaumcuU^ 107, 423. 

* Baudoin's French edition, Aroste dam 1704, i, 63, 66. 

C 2 

Digitized by 


36 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

It is at least curious that the churning legend could also be fitted to 
the theory of the evolution of solar systems from revolving nebulous matter, 
to which attention will again be directed farther on as regards a Chinese 

[Professor Oliver Lodge,* in adopting Sir Wm. Thomson's theory of vortex 
atoms, has suggested a universal substance in space, some portions of which 
are either at rest, or in simple irrotational motion, while others are in rotational 
motion — in vortices, that is. These whirling portions constitute what we call 
matter ; their motion gives them rigidity. This is a modem view of Ether and 
its {MTicixons,— Nature i Feb. 1883, p. 330.] 

This mythic Spear may be recognised again in the shadowless 
lance* which in the Alexander legends the hero plucks either out 
of Atlas or out of the topmost peak of the Taurus mountains ; and 
in the golden blade with which the Iranian Jemshid pierced the 
bosom of the earth.^ 

The Nagelring sword of Nithathr and of Hotherus in Saxo Grammaticus 
{Hist, Dan, p. no) belongs to the same armoury.* It is made by Volund (that 
is Weyland the smith, Hephaistos) and is of untold value ; getting possession 
of it puts the Asa-gods to flight ; it is in the remote regions of the direst frost ; 
in a subterranean cave (that is, plunged in the Earth) ; Nithathr surprises 
Volund and takes the sword ; its companion is a marvellous Ring, which 
becomes an arm-ring in the myths, and is called Draupnir, from which eight 
rings (making nine) drop every ninth night. Volund's smithy (the heavens) is 
therefore full of rings. 

The hasta set up in the ground during the judicial debates of 
the centumvires is another re-appearance of the Axis, at the point 
of which sits the world-judge. (Hasta posita pro aede Jovis 
Statoris. Cicero^ Phil, ii, 26, 64) and the Sheriffs javelin-men 
doubtless give us a relict of the Roman curis, of the spear of the 
Judge of heaven. 

The pair of Japanese Kami immediately took possession of 
their island — which, as above, we must by extension, understand 
as the Earth — and having firmly planted their spear therein, made 
a heavens-Pillar of it* Heaven and earth were then very close to 
each other, we are told, and so, when this divine couple sent their 
daughter, Amaterasu, or Heaven-shine, to rule as goddess of the 
Sun the lofty expanse of heaven, she went up the Pillar or 

* Lecture at London Institution, December 1882. ' Paradise Founds 135. 

* Guignaut*s Creuzer*s Kelig. de VAnLy i, 335, 375. 

* Rydberg*s Teut, Myth,, 1889, p. 43a * Chamberlain's Kojiki, 19, 37.2. 

Digitized by 


Myths,'] The Spear Pike or Pal, 37 

Hashira.^ The name Amaterasu has as strong a likeness as can 
well be expected to Pasi-phafi (see Index) ; note, too, that the 
Japanese legend recognises her existing before she was made sun- 
goddess. Heaven-shine is thus her name ; the Greek being 
" to- All-shine." It is notable that in the Satapatha-BrdhtnancP' it 
is said that "in the beginning, yonder sun was verily here on 

The thesis favoured throughout this Inquiry will be that this 
spear and pillar are but symbols of the Earth-axis and its prolongation y 
that is of the Universe-axis itself as it seemed {and still seems) to be 
when the Earth was quite naturally taken to be the centre of the 
cosmos which perpetually revolved round that axis. It must be 
remembered that this supreme, sublime, motion of the megacosm 
was patent only at night, and that its majestic progress could be 
noted only by the stars. The Axis upon which the stupendous 
machine turned itself thus became an all-important origin of 
endless symbols in, as is here suggested, a heavens- worship of the 
very remotest and most faded antiquity, a worship which culminates 
in the adoration of the Polar deity's self. 

Eventually when Ninigi, the first divine ruler of Japan, had 
been duly appointed, and had descended, Heaven and Earth drew 
apart, and actual connection between them ceased.^ "The 
separation of Heavens and Earth" is the Japanese phrase 
which answers to our "beginning of the world."* The Chinesy 
preface to the Kozhiki makes an exposition of this cosmical 
philosophy as follows : ** I Yasumaro* say : Now when Chaos 
had begun to condense, but force and form were not yet manifest, 
and there was naught named, naught done ; who could know its 
shape? Nevertheless Heavens and Earth first parted, and the 
Three Kami^ performed the commencement of creation. The 
Passive and Active essences then developed, and the Two Spirits 
became the ancestors of all things." The passive and active 

* Trans. As. Soc. Jap., vii, 419. ' Eggeling's, ii, 309. ' Pure Shintd^ 51. 

* Mr. Chamberlain's Kojiki^ pp. xxi, 4, 15. 

* Futo no Yasumaro, a pare Japanese imbued with Chinese culture, and editing the 
Kozhikiy here writes. His death is recorded on 30th August a.d. 723. 

* This triad is the Lord of the awful Mid-heavens Ame no Minaka-Nushi, the Lofty- 
Dread-Producer Taka Mi-Musubi, and the Divine- Producer Kami-Musubi. "These 
three Kami weie all alone-born Kami, and hid their beings." 

Digitized by 


3^ The Night of the Gods, [Axis 

powers are here the Chinese Yin and Yang ; and the two Spirits 
with whom Yasumaro identified them were Izanami and Izanagi. 

In a New Zealand myth, Rangi and Papa, Heavens and Earth 
the universal parents, were once closely joined (see Index) but 
were at length separated by one of their children, the god of 
forests^ ; a reminder of Goethe's saying : Order has been taken 
that the trees shall not grow through the sky. 

[It is odd that in archaic Japanese the modem Aa/ui (mother) is supposed 
to have been //?/«, which word is remarkable, says Mr. B. H. Chamberlain ; 
" for most languages possessing it or a similar one, use it not to denote mother 
but father."* Ukko and Akka are the names which were given among the 
Finns to father heavens and mother earth.*] 

The idea of the former union and later separation of heaven 
and earth is also to be found in the Aitareya-brdhmana^ ; and it is, 
of course, ever present in Chinese cosmical philosophy. Another 
form or off-shoot of the myth is the union of Kronos with Rhea, 
who in Phrygia and generally in Asia Minor was the goddess of 
forests and mountains.* 

Photius (citing Eutychius Proclus of Sicca) said the Greek epic 
cycle began with the fabled unipn of heaven and earth.* The 
conceit is still too the common property of the poets as part of 
the ubiquitous idea of a Fall : 

In the Morning of the World, 

when Earth w^ nigher Heaven than now. — (Pippa Passes.) 

We still uphold in our " Mother-Earth " half the idea which is 
completed by the Sanslcrit dy^ws-Pit^, the Greek Zeus-Pat6r and the 
Latin Ju-Piter= Father-Sky (or Heavens). The Finnish Mother- 
Earth, Maa-emae or Maa^n-emo is consiort of Ukka,^ as Jordh is of 
Odin, Papa of Rangi, or G^ of Ouranos. 

[The subject of the Spear, Lance, pal, curis, Sipike, pike, and sword, runs 
through the whole Inquiry like a file tbroqgh its leaves ; and the Reader is 
requested to refer to the pages treating on Ares and tlie Curetes ; and above al 
to the Index, to which patient attention cannot too oft^n be invited.] 

[The chain of gold festened from heaven, by which Zeus boasts in the Iliad 
(viii) that he could hang gods and earth and sea to a pinnacle of Olympus, may 
be a variant of the Universe-axis myth. 

* Lang's Custom and Mythy 48 ; Tylor's Prim, Culture^ i, 29a 
' Trans. As. Soc. lapan, xvi, 262. 

^ Castren : Finnische Mythologies pp. 32, 86. 

^ Muir's Sanskrit Texts ^ v, 23. * Tiele : Kronos^ p 26. 

* Bibl. Didot : Cycli epici reliquicty p. 581. 
7 Crawford's Kalevala (1889), p. xx. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Spear Pike or Pal. 39 

A chain or thread of gold was part of the head-gear of Great Maine, the 
mythic ancestor of the HyMany, and the son of Niall of the Nine hostages, who 
appears in so many Irish pedigrees, but must be equated with the equally 
mythic Welsh Neol. Maine, Mane or Mani, again, is identical with the Welsh 
Menyw of Arthur's Court*] 

> Prof. Rhys*s Hibbtrt Lectures, 374, 375. 

Digitized by 



The Night of the Gods. 


2. — The God Picus. 

PiICUS the father of Faunus (=Pan?) seems to be a Pike> 
Spear, or Axis god. He was the son of Saturnus (=Kro- 
nos). Faunus was also said to be the son of Mars, which equates 
Picus the pike-god and Mars the spear-god. He was also father 
of Fauna the Bona Dea, (whose true name was taboo) an alias of 

Fauna also meant g^ood, and thus of course, being connected with fauere 
to be propitious, implied good fortune, which gives me a desired connection 
with the central lucky emblems. Faunus it was said became a serpent in his 
relations with Fauna,* which gives us a connection with the Egyptian Ari 

The changing of Picus into a picus-dirdy a pie, is a muddling 
of words, favoured by the archaic conditions which have brought 
peck and deak from the same root Sis/fike. It is odd that there is a 
similar contact — not to call it confusion — in the case of apTrrj (see 
later) which means both a weapon and a bird. 

Dr. O. Schrader makes the picus (OHG specht) into the woodpecker. 
Mr. E. R. Wharton says OHG speh magpie goes rather with speci6 ; but he 
too makes picus a woodpecker. 

The following is a philological table of the matter as regards 
Picus : 

Latin . 





. picea . 

. pic 

. bee . 

Irish . 

. pice . 


. picidh . 


. pic . 


. picell . 


• pig • 


. pigo . 


. piga . 


. p(k . 

. pike . 

. peak . 

. /o peck 

. beak . 


iglish pic 

The Pike-god. 

pinus silvestris, 




pike, long spear. 

pike, weapon. 


pike, beak. 

to pick, peck, prick. 

to prick. 

a pick. 

pointed staff. 

variant of pike. 

variant of to pick. 

variant of pike. 


* Preller : Rom. Mythol. , pp. 340, 352 ; and Gerhard. 

Digitized by 


Afy/As.] The God Puns. 41 

Pitchfork or pikforke thus compares with the Trident and Bident [It is 
needless here to run down spike, spica &c., which are ahnost certainly connected, 
as there was a moveable prefix, s.] 

Picus was king of the Ab-origines, that is he was a First-Man. 
He was besought by all the nymphs of the land (an incident which 
needs no commentary) but gave his choice to the sweet-voiced 
Canente (singing), clearly a heavens-harmony goddess, the 
daughter of lanus and Venilia (ocean-nymph of the Venus class ; 
also consort of Neptune, and otherwise called Salacia). When the 
enchantress Circe changed Picus into a picus, Canente faded away 
in grief, and became (what she always was) vox et praeterea 
nihil. The fact that she and Picus take their places among the 
Indigetes, whose real names were taboo, "dii quorum nomina 
vulgari non licet " {Festus) proves their archaically lofty rank. 

Were the Indigetes indicated by mudras, by a sort of sacred talking on the 
fingers ? Were they thus worshipped as Hinddl gods are at this day ? This 
would make mudras of the indigitamenta. The verb was indtglto and indTgeto. 

Circe struck Picus with her Wand to metamorphose him, in 
revenge for his insensibility. Here we have two figures of the 
Universe-Axis in actual contact Picus was, according to Virgil 
{^n. vii, 189), a horsey god, a horse-lover, which is a central 
centaural note of a heavens-deity. 

The province of Picenum took its name from Picus (sabini . . . 
in vexillo eorum picus consederit — Festus ; where picus must be A 
pike). In the most extended, that is the mythic, sense, Picenum 
was the northernmost seat of the Picentes (that is to say the 
Ab-origines) the Sabines, the Pelasgi and the Umbri, who were 
all comprised under this general designation.^ With Picus must 
be catalogued the brothers Picumnus and Pilumnus, the companions 
of Mars (with whom we have above equated Picus). According to 
Varro and Nonius and every one else they were conjugal gods, 
beds being set-up for them in the temples ; and they were sons of 
Jupiter. When a child was born it was stood on the ground with 
a recommendation to these Axis-gods (j/^/uebatur in terra, ut 
auspicaretur rectus esse — Varro). Picumnus was an Etruscan god. 
His partner Pilumnus invented the grinding or pounding of corn, 
whence he is seen to be a pestle-god (and as such has his double in 
Japan*), and was thus the patron-saint of millers, and said by 

* Freund und Theil. 

* The Eastern pestle for pounding rice b about five feet long, and is of wood tipped 
wilh iron. It is found in every house, and is connected with many superstitions and 

Digitized by 


42 The Night of the Gods. \Axis 

insufficient mythologists to be an actual personification of the 
pilum, while Picumnus was made a personification of the picus- 
bird, the pie, quod est absurdum. Pil-umnus deserves contrasting 
with Col-umnus. The pilum of course was both a javelin and a 
pestle, whence confusion in sacred words ; Pilun^noe poploe in the 
hymns of the Salii {Festtis) is a good instance of this; 
and Mount Pilatus and the superstitions connected with it must 
be put in the same category. 

Piliat-chuchi seems to be a supreme heavens-god of the Kamschatkans, and 
Picollus an ancient Prussian divinity. 

I place here on record, without satisfying myself on the subject, the 
picataphorus or Eighth house of the astrologer's heavens. It is also the 
"upper gate," the "idle place," and the "house of death " ; terms which apply to 
the northern heavens-omphalos. Predictions touching deaths and inheritances 
are made from it {Noel). To this is appended the Picati whose feet are 
sphinx-formed (?) : Picati appellantur quidam quorum pedes formati sunt in 
speciem Sphingum : quod eas Pori ficas vocant {Festus), This " Dori " gives 
us a connection with the d<(pv-spear of Kronos (see later). 

As to the bird pica and picus it must however be borne in 
mind that it was augural, and was also a sort of fabulous griffin 
or gryphon, which was called ^pv-^ (an eagle-winged lion, which 
is one of the four heavens-beasts, see Index). Pici divitiis qui 
aureos montes (that is the heavens) colunt^ 

ceremonies. (Hardy : Manual of Buddhism ^ 154.) The Japanese name for it 

' Nonius, 152, 7. 

Digitized by 


Myths] Divine Names in Pal-. 43 

3. — Divine Names in Pal-. 

W ^ALLAS, I think, must be explained alongside ofirdWeiv 

A""^to brandish (a spear), to hurl, wield, drive, cast lots, 

JL vibrate, palpitate. The Pal- must be that preserved to us 

in the French pal a stake or pole, and our own word pale : Latin 

palus and pilus. [See Pallas again, lower down.] 

Palace, It is strange, in view of the myths here set out as to 
the spear or pal forming the tent-pal or pole, the palace-pillar, that 
a derivation of pal-ace from pal is impregnable. The P^x/atium, 
XldXariov, IlaXXai/Tiov, was said to be the first hill built-on in 
Rome,^ and ought to be connected with palatum the vault of the 
heavens, upheld by the pal, which must be considered as the real 
sigfnificance of the word. PaldXo (or Palanto or Palanta or Palatia) 
daughter of Hyperboreus (that is, of the Extreme-North where 
the axis-pal is), and consort of Latinus, lived there ; and there was 
Pallas buried (Festus), which is clearly a doublet of the same legend ; 
which was also perpetuated in tjie worship of the tutelary goddess 
of the hill, PaldX\x2i, with the palatual or palatuar sacrifices. Her 
priest had the same title as her sacrifices. It is all old, old as the 

If pal alone will not do for pal-atium and pal-atinus ; pal + latium and 
pal + latinus would ; if we could only get rid of the important difficulty of the 
single/ and the double //, with which Mr. Herbert D. Darbishire here blocks my 
unorthodox way. All I can urge in extenuation is that we are here engaged 
upon extremely ancient compound proper names ; which, as Mr. E. R. Wharton 
states,' "all writers of etymological dictionaries have agreed to exclude"; 
on ne sait pas trop pourquoi. (See also words in lat-, which have to be treated 

On to the Pal-Latinus hill were the divine twins Romulus and 
Remus (who are thus doublets of the Pafici twins) brought by 
Faustulus. Thence Romulus saw the Twelve Vultures; that is, 
saw the zodiacal signs from the centre of the heavens. (Remus 
seeing only six vultures from the .^r^ntine Bird-hill requires pur- 
suit). An old theory, revived by Prof. F. M. Miiller,* brought 
palatinus from the goddess Pales ; but that is a mere half-way-house, 
a stage on the journey, just like Palato or Pallas. There was a 
Palatina laurus before the palace of the Caesars (Ovid, Fast, iv, 

* Varro, L,L, v, 8, 53. ' Etyina Laiina (1890) p. vi. ' Lects, on Lang.y ii, 276. 

Digitized by 


44 The Night of the Gods, [Axis 

593), which would have represented the universe- laurel-tree (see 
" AgLauros "). An inscription found in Provence called Cybel6 the 
great Palatina of Ida. The Salii were called palatini, and this was 
not from the hill ; both had their names from the same source, and 
the Salii carried spears, ot pals. 

UdKaifuov son of Athamas and Ino (or of Hephaistos or of 
H^rakl^s) was an argonaut, and was at first called Melikert^s, a 
Bee-god. His mother was precipitated with him into the Cosmic 
Ocean, which gives us his and her Fall. Children were sacrificed 
to him in Tenedos. At Corinth Pausanias recorded an under- 
ground chapel of his, to which the descent was by a secret stair. 
He hid there (being thus like many Axis-gods within the Earth), 
and punished perjur>' instanter, which makes a central Truth-god 
of him. The Etruscan Portunns (wrongly Portumnus) clearly a 
heavens-gate god, was called Palaemon also in Rome. The name 
divides either as iraX-aifuov or iraXai-fKov ; the latter however is 
the easier of the two, and would mean the Old-One. He is also 
called Palaim6nios {Apolloniusy 

Fat'Sieno was a Danald (Hyginus^ Fa6. 170). 

PaiaMtdQS is a doublet of Kadmos, in so far as the invention of 
either four or six letters goes. This he did observing the flight of 
cranes, which is strangely like the Chinese Fuh-hi discovering the 
six classes of trigrams or written characters on the back of a 
heavenly dragon -horse (see Index). 

Francois Lenormant, upon a careful analysis of all the legends, pronounced 
for the four letters of PalaM6dfis being, upon the balance of evidence : S,%X 
and *. Note that the first is the character for the heavens-ocean or river in 
both Chinese and Egyptian ; that the last is the trident or fleur-de-lis ; that 
X is the cardinal cross slewed round 45° ; and that * is the universe pierced 
by its axis. 

There was a saying about losing the birds of PalaM^d^s, which 
Martial (xiii, 75) put into a cryptic verse : 

Turbabis versus nee litera tota volabit, 
unam perdideris si Palamedis avem. 
Besides,, he invented numbers, weights and measures, and the regu- 
lation of time. He thus still more resembles the Chinese mythic 
ruler whom I have suggested to be a central primaeval god, and 
the same suggestion is also now made as to Palamedes, whose 
poems were even said by Suidas to have been suppressed by 
Homer. He was a descendant of Bel, and it is all in the part 
that a treasure should be found in his tent, and that he should 

Digitized by 


Myths^ Divine Names in Pal-, 45 

have his fall, his doom of the gods, by being precipitated into the 
Cosmic Ocean. The name is probably TraXat-MiyS?;?, the Old- 
Central-God. (See Me-Deus). 

Palai(o)polis in the island of Andros had a magic fountain whose water 
became wine for seven days at the beginning of the year, in January. It was 
a temple-miracle this ; and the wine re-became water if taken out of the sacred 
precincts. So was the suspicious inspector then dished by the wily. Palai 
here is clearly " old.** Paleia was also a name of the town Av/xi; or Dymae, a 
very archaic word, which seems to have survived otherwise only in compounds 
of dvo), dO/ii, to go under, sink, set (the sun). 

Palaistinos (or -us ?) precipitated himself into the waters (river Canosus or 
Palsestinus or Strymon). 

The Palici form one of the endless celestial pairs of twins. 
Sons of Jupiter and Thalia or iEtna, their mother, pregnant of 
them, was at her own prayer swallowed-up by the Earth, whence 
the twins came forth at the proper time. It is a clear dual-axis- 
pillar myth. They were also gods of the breakless oath. Macro- 
bius (^Sat. V, 19) and Servius gave this account from a Sicilian poet; 
and the derivation of the name from irdXiv-Ueo is amusing. Hesy- 
chius called them sons of Adramus or Adranus (said to be an 
indigenous Sicilian god) ; but iEschylus made them sons of Zeus. 
The boiling lake of sulphurous water, near which their temple was 
placed, was always full but never overflowed, like the fountain of 
the Peri Banu. The temple was also a sanctuary for maltreated 
slaves, which reminds of Orestes taking refuge at the Omphalos. 
There were oracles also given, and human sacrifices made — always 
a note of supreme central gods. The Palici seem to be a doublet 
of Romulus and Remus. 

Palilicium sidus. This star was said to be the constellation of the Hyades, 
because clearly seen on the feast of the Palilia (21 April). Could any reason 
well be more insufficient (Pliny xviii, 26, 66, § 247). 

Palilia or Parilia, the feast of the foundation of Rome, at the 
beginning of Spring (that is, for both reasons, the creation of the 
world). Perfumes mixed with horse-blood (which would give a 
central horse-god connection), and ashes from a whole-burnt un- 
born calf obtained Ceesar-ways, and from burnt beanstalks, were 
used for purification at this spring-feast. 

[The ashes still survive in the pagan ritual of Ash- Wednesday, for which 
the ashes should be obtained from the palms of the previous palm-Sunday. 
The Jews purified with ashes of the burnt red-Cow {Numbers^ xix). The Parsis 
still use ashes fi-om the Bahrim fire mixed with bull's urine (gomez).] 
The worshippers also jumped through the flamma Palilis — no 

Digitized by 


4^ The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

doubt of the fire from which these ashes were obtained ; and straw 
and hay were also burnt for the purpose of this flame (Ovid, Fast. 
iv, 798). The shepherd's crook, the pedum, which is just the same 
as the augur's lituus (see Index), must have helped to make the 
paiilidL a shepherd's feast also. 

pa/ea, straw. I think pal was a reed before palea was a straw, 
and that tAat is the true explanation of the worldwide ritualistic 
use of straw, which has been an object of my searches for many 
years. Instances are the ancient feudal oath by a straw (France) ; 
the yule (/>., wheel) straw (Scotland and N. of Ireland) ; the rice- 
straw roping of sacred trees, shrines and private houses (japan) 
and so forth. The great Reed (as in Japan and elsewhere, see 
Index) represented the Spear (for which it no doubt served in 
archaic times) that is the axis-pal. And the straw and rush came 
later to replace or suffice in ritual for the reed, especially in reedless 
countries. Japan is the Ashi^hara no naka tsu Kuni, the mid-I^nd 
of the Reed-expanse, that is the Earth on the axis of the Universe. 

iraXiovpo^ the thom^tree, paliurus, Christ's-thorn. I was near 
omitting this word, which must be analysed, it is suggested, into 
TToK and oipo<; the extremity. 

UaXivovpo^. It is strange that this sky-pilot also fell into the 
Ocean, like so many other gods in Pal-. Martial's shocking pun 
(iii, 78) ought to be a warning to audacious etymologists : 
Minxisti currente semel, Paulline, carina : 
meiere vis iterum, jam Palinurus ens. 
Natheless will I suggest that oipo<; is the heavens-mountain, and 
that irdKiv, *' again," might have actually taken its fullest signifi- 
cance from repetitions of the turning of the Universe round its pa/. 
And I here especially draw attention to the connection between 
ovpo^, groove or socket (compare what is said about the axis- 
socket elsewhere) ; oipo^, mountain ; otipo^, term, boundary ; ovpi., 
tail ; oSpoi/, space, boundary ; Zeus Oipco^^ ; Ovpla^ (Heb. UriYah 
=fire of Yah, a companion name to UriEl ; ur = fire, light. Recol- 
lect urim an(3 thummim = lights and truths) ; oipo^, Ovpev^ a 
watcher ; Ovpavo^^ the heavens, the heavens-god. The cape of 
Palinurus would thus be the North pole. 

* The French ours (Latiji ursus, Proven9al ors) is now, it wojild seem, identified with 
ipKTOs ; Sanskrit rkshas, Irish .art, Welsh arth. 

• Mr. E. R. Wharton (in Eiyma Graca. and Laiina) puts t<^ether Sanskrit var sea, 
and varis water, Zend vairis. Old Norse ver, Anglosaxon var sea, Latin urloa, with oZpov 
water, ovpav6s (rainy) sky, and ovpotnj pot. The now favoured explanation of ovpaif6s 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] Divine Names in Pal-. 47 

PdlioHy it is well to remember, was an alias of Mount P^lion. 

iraXtd, the wedding morrow-mom. The sancta simplicitas of the old derivation 
of this " from itahv Uvtu, because they then returned to the feast," feit rire 
comme ung tas de mousches au soleiL It must be connected with fraX-Xd{, a 
youth just fit to use his pal ; irdX-Xa, fmX-Xaic^, fraX-Xoyfuz, and so forth. And 
here there must be a connection with <f>ak'\6s. The maiden idea is here 
secondary ; and one is sorry to think that K. O. Muller seems quite put out 
of court with his ^^naKXds simply meaning virgin^ just as Persephond 
was called the Eleusinian it6pa^ virgin^^^ But there are no two ways about it ; 
vdXXf ly is to wheel, to wield, a spear ; and there is perhaps some small modicum 
of compensating comfort in thinking of the giant that made Rosalind as a 

Apollonios of Rhodes names tvfkfitkUjg ^akripos as one'of the argonauts.' 
This is rendered " Phal6ros of the stout ashen spear," or it may be " expert with 
the ashen spear." We cannot (according to the system followed in this 
Inquiry) consider his name without all the other divine words in ^aX- for 
which there is now neither time nor space ; de sera pour une autre fois. This 
brings us to 

Pa/Ia an amazon killed by H6rakl6s J and the superlatively famous 

palladium. The mdXKAhiov fell from heaven in the reign of *f X09 
(that is ll or fel=Kronos) the son of Tpciv (==T/5€t9, three?) the 
namer of Tpota^ which would thus be a Trinidad. Tpw-Z\o^ unites 
the two god-names, and in that resembles EH- Yah* The palladion 
was an upright image of Pallas Ath^n^ Uplifting a pal or pike in 
the right hand. Apollodorus said it was an automaton, like the 
more modern winking pictures. By another legend it was given 
to Dard-anos, an obvious dart or spear-god, by his mother 'HXi/er/^a, 
daughter of Atlas, and one of The Seven. By yfet other accounts 
Asios (a surname of Zeus) gave it to Dardanos or to Tr6s. 

MnesLS (Aineias), it must be remembered, was a Dardanian prince ; 
Anchis^s having been the King of'tl^e Dardanians. *AyxiaTjs and Ancus 
(Martins) may be connected. JEnesLS fought with the Dardanians at the war- 
in-heaven of the siege of Troy, and was clearly the Achilles of the Trojan 
side. , 

Dardanos made a copy of the Zeus-given palladium, **and the 
same with intent to deceive," like the counterfeit bucklers of the 
Salii ; but this doubling of the palladium must contain a dual pillar 
conception. The Romans were also said to have made several 

as rainy, because o(ovp4» to sprinkle, does not seem to fill the mind. Might it not be 
urged that the expounding of ovpor (urina) as tail-water is possible and useful ? Consider 
the Indian and Iranian still over>mastering superstitions as to the gomes of the celestial 
cow, and the fact that the heavens-river comes from the supreme, the terminal, quarter oi 
the heavens on which we are engaged. 

* Afythoi, cb. xii. * Argon, i, 96. ^ 

Digitized by 


48 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

counterfeits of the palladium which iEneas brought from Troy, the 
original being hid in a place unknown (" except to the priests " is 
another touch of the hoax) ; and this had its rise in the elusive 
nature of the Axis, often referred to in this Inquiry. Many towns 
contested the possession of the palladium, just as there were ever- 
so-many navels. The allegory by which the palladium was made of 
the bones (? the spine) of Pelops is significant, for the white shoulder 
of Pelops was the white heavens ; the rapt of the palladium by 
Dio-M^d^s, clearly a central god-name, has also genuine meaning. 

" The Palladion (called Diopet6s, that is heaven-dropped) which Diom^d^s 
and Odusseus (Ulysses) carried off from Troy to D^mophoon was made of the 
bones of Pelops, as Olympian Zeus of the bones of the Indian wild beast."* 
This last may point to images of bone or ivory. 

Palladia arx^ the citadel protected by Pallas (Propertius, iii, 7, 42), is 
primarily the arx (see Index) of the highest heavens, which is thus again 
identified with the celestial counterpart of terrestrial Troy. Palladia Alba is 
thus also the white (see Index) heavens. Palladia pinus, too, is not Argo navis, 
as is falsely said, but its mast (Val. Flacc i, 475) or its keel. Note that 
palladia lotos (Martial viii, 51) was a lotus-flute. Invita Pallade, "in spite of 
Pallas," was a profane oath the reverse of the pious " Not without Theseus." 

Pallas (again). Weigh well the fact that no other line of expla- 
nation than that I am now hammering-at will expound for us the 
number Seven being called pallas. The endeavour to explain it as 
the virgin number, quia nullum ex se parit numerum duplicatus, 
qui intra denarium coarctetur, (Macrobius, Somn, Scip, 1, 6 ; Martius 
Capella, vii, 241) seems childish. The reason is, it is suggested, 
because the Sevens of the two Bears (especially of Ursa Major, 
of course) are at the top of the pal which is the Universe-axis. 
This alone also fully explains the name and import of the giant. 

PallaSy son by Eurubia of the Titan Krios (Crius) (who also 
wedded Styx daughter of Okeanos — a myth which may refer to 
the axis passing down through the infernal waters) ; or (Apollo- 
doros* gave the choice) otherwise Pallas was one of the fifty sons 
of Luka6n. Or again, he was one of the four sons of Pan Dion. 
And here ** I do now let loose my opinion, hold it no longer :" this 
giant's name comes from waX a pal (in fact) and Xa? a stone or 

Coupling such words as pal + XSj here, and pal + Lat-inus before, is perhaps 
committing the philological crime of compounding roots. But in arrest of 
judgment it might be pleaded that the premises of the present arguments are 

* Clem. Alex. Exhorin, to the Hellenes (citing the Cycle (part 5) of Dionysius). 
' Apoll. BibL^ i, 2, 2; iii, 8, I ; iii, 15, 5. 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] Divine Names in Pal-. 49 

taken from a period of the world's pre-history much older than that which any 
philological canons propose to embrace. Reference is requested to what is said 
later on as to Pol Lux being perhaps also a compound ; and the existence of 
the divine name DoruLas (which see) as a straight verbal parallel to PalLas, 
seems sufficiently striking. 

The 50 sons of Pallas who warred with Theseus must take 
their place, as chronologicals, with all the other " fifties " of Greek 
Mythology (see Index). The slaying and flaying of Pallas^ the 
Titan by Pallas the goddess, who donned his skin, would connect 
itself perhaps with the Indian lingam incidents (see Meru) ; and 
the male and female deities called Pallas would be originally a 
dual axis-god. Cicero gives a legend which is another form of 
this ; making Minerva the daughter of Pallas, whom she kills on 
his offering her sexual violence. Pallinios was (the same or 
another ?) an Attic giant, killed by Ath^n6. Apollodoros* gave a 
legend which clearly makes Ath^n^ and Pallas two goddesses ; 
Pallas being daughter of Trit6n and killed by Ath^n^, who then 
makes a counterfeit image of her, which image, flung down to the 
Iliadan land, (et? •n^i' 'iXtciSa xc&pai/ — tXv9~mud) was the Palla- 
dion which Ilos there enshrined. All the gods called Pallas are, 
it is suggested, clearly due to one monster type ; one legend makes 
Pallas the son of Lycaon, another, the son of Pan-Dion ; another, 
the son of H^rakl^s the axis-god and Lvva daughter of Euandros. 
Virgil makes Pallas son of Evander or Evandrus, whom some 
mythologists have equated with Saturn or Kronos. (Recollect 
that Evan or Yav6v was a surname of Bacchus). Nor must we 
forget that Zeus was called Pallantios. 

Pallini in Ovid is a northern land wherein is a marsh called 
TVrton, in which bathing nine times gives feathers and " the right 
to fly." A vagary upon the Trinity-House of the Northern Cosmic 
Ocean, and souls becoming birds in the same quarter. The idea 
of the " marsh " may come from a confusion of palus pali a stake, 
the axis, with pSlus pSludis a marsh or pond ; but pSlus also was 
a reed or rush (see p. 46), and that may even have been the earlier 
signification. (Recollect the Japanese ashihara, reed-expanse). 
The mythic palus Maeotis (Mat&T^?) may thus meet with its 
elucidation. Apollodoros* said that, according to some, the 
Gigantes, sons of Ouranos and G^, dwelt in Pall^n6. 

Pallor. This goddess was a companion of Mars ; a dog and a 

> Apoll. Bibl.y i, 6, 2. • Bibl, iii, 12, 3. ' Bibl^ i, 6, I. 


Digitized by 


50 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

sheep were her sacrifice, and she had her pallorian priests, the 
Salii. Pallor is always said to be pallor personified ; but that 
pallor is not the paleness of the face ; that is not how gods are 
made. In view of all that is here to be urged as to white being an 
adjectival tern^ for the heavens, I shall suggest that it was from 
the whiteness of the celestial displays that Pallor took her first 
colour-signification, Plautus has a pun (^Men. iv, 2, 46) which 
serves slightly here : palla pajlorem incutit ; where palla is actually 
a cloak, but may have sub-intended a weapon. Pallor was used of 
the shades of Hades, and pallor amantium was especially common ; 
so that the paleness of fright was not a primary meaning of pallor, 
and the companioning of Pallor with Mars would have been not 
because she turned the runaway pale, but because, like the male 
and female Greek Pallas, they were both spear deities ; the 
connection with the Salii seepia conclusive. She was an ancient 
goddess in PaU. Palled meant am pale (in the face) from any 
cause — age, sickness, auperexcitement, or passion. 

Palomantiay the divination which resembled rhabdomancy, used 
to be explained in the dictionaries as coming from iriXK^w to shake. 
Of course the source of both, and of ^4X09 a lot, is pal a rod or 

Makaiy the adverb which means long ago, of yore, erst, aforetime, may 
perhaps have had a connection with the Old One whose position in so many 
mythologies is at the end of the universe-pal ; iraXaio/x^roopssancient Mother ; 
and see Palaimon and FalaM^d^s above. The affectionate expression " old 
pal " which superior persons are now pleased to dub as slang, and which is said 
to be Rommany," might claim descent from the same great origin. 

PalcBstra, iraXaurrpa, I believe the connection between pal 
a pole, and ird\q wrestling, might be attempted by means of the 
locality HaKaiarpa where, in the time of Pausanias, tradition still 
had it that the struggle between Theseus, the god, and Kerku6n 
took place. Kerkudn obviously, like Korkura (Corcyra), belongs 
to K€p/ch a spindle. He was a central revolving universe-god, and 
his wrestling with Theseus would have taken place at the pal or 
axis. Plato made Kerkudn one of the inventors of wrestling. 
The bending down of the tops of the trees which is attributed to 
him, would again make him central, as referring to the overarching 

* />dl a plank. Grellman*s Jlist des Bohimiens (French ed.). Paris i8io, p. 296. 
pala lord prince ; palam my lord ; paU straw ; pali lady princess ; palim madam ; paiifo 
magnificent ; polo post prop. (Vaillant*s Langue Rommane^ Paris 1861, p. 120). But 
there is nothing analogous in Paspati ( Tchinghianis de t empire Ottoman^ Constantinople, 
1870, p. 401) who only gives /«// behind. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] Divine Names in Pal-. 5' 

and pendulous heavens-branches of the Universe-tree. Add that 
he was son of AgaM^d^s, the central Impeller-God, and there is 
but little question left. If Sinis, who was also killed by Theseus, 
and to whom is credited the same tree-trick, be indeed as is thought 
the same as Kerku6n, we should by joining the two names have 
the sinister idea of tuming^ to the left, or endeavouring to reverse 
the motion of the heavens (which claims so much attention in this 
Inquiry). Thfiseus, the heavens-god, thus fought " for the rigkt*^ 
for the Law and Order of the Universe, and won. Kerkios the 
charioteer of Castor and Pollux has obviously a similar etymo- 
logical signification, from his driving circularly round the heavens. 
And it is hoped that no one's feelings will be over-shocked by 
explaining the name of the great enchantress-goddess Circe TLLpicn 
in the same way. It falls almost too patly into my theory (later 
on) about turning the wheel of Fortune. Her skill, so supreme as 
to bring down the stars from heaven, is then prosaically explained 
away as their bringing low, as they set when she has turned the 
heavens round to that extent That explains her connection with 
Picus the axis-god, and her wand. The remaining a year with 
Circe (as Ulysses did) then merely refers to the revolution of the 
annus of the year. This subject might be pursued indefinitely, but 
not now. 

Etymologists have invented no root that will afford us straight- 
away this indubitably radical and ubiquitous word pal, a stake. 
This is a fact which may well give us pause. They however say 
that pale is a doublet of pole ; and bring pole from a " root kar^ 
later kal, to go, to drive " ;^ a derivation as to which it may be 
safe to suspend final judgment until further orders, as r and / can 
scarcely be permitted to interchange in philological roots. 

* Skeat's Etym. Diet, (ist ed.)i p. 454- 

D 2 

Digitized by 


52 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

4. — The Rod and Rhabdomancy. 

FOR some future occasion must be reserved the wide-branching 
subject of the divining-rod and rhabdomancy. It would 
seem, however, that the magic rod or wand must be connected 
with the symbolism of the Universe-Axis. Prof. Robertson Smith 
says that " No doubt the divining-rod, in which a spirit or life is 
supposed to reside, so that it moves and gives indications apart 
from the will of the man who holds it, is a superstition cognate to 
the belief in sacred trees."^ Philo-Sanconiathon says rods as well 
as pillars were worshipped at an annual Phoenician feast.* If the 
rod, pole, and pillar were identical emblems of the Universe-Axis, 
it would account for the Romans worshipping peeled posts as gods,' 
and would throw a flood of light on Jacob's peeling white strakes 
in rods of fresh storax, almond, and plane trees {Gen, xxx, 37). 
The rod of Aaron (mountain) that grew, bloomed, and fruited, 
must clearly be connected with the marvellous Tree, the Mountain, 
and the Axis. 

The middle-age writers on the Occult* put the divining-rod in 
the same category with the rod of Moses, with which he struck 
the rock and brought forth water; with the golden sceptre of 
Ahasuerus, of which Esther no sooner touched the tip than she 
obtained all her desires ; and even with the line in Psalm xxiii : 
"thy rod and staff, they comfort me." It was also the rod or 
wand of Pallas Ath6n^ with which she metamorphosed Odysseus in 
the 13th and i6th— it is golden in the i6th — books of the Odyssey. 
In Ezekiel xxi, 21 the king of Babylon "stood at the parting 
of the way, at the head of the two ways " [at the fork of the roads] 
"to use divination. He shook the arrows to and fro." Cicero 
{De ^i, 44, 158) in writing to his son used the expression of 
providing for one's wants as if by the divining-rod : quasi Virguli 
diving, ut aiunt. Varro is said (Nonius 550, 12) to have written a 
satire called Virgula Divina, Tacitus described the Germans* as 
cutting into several pieces a rod (virga) from a fruit-bearing tree, 

^ ReUg, ofSemiieSy 179. • Eusebius: Prap, Ev, i, 10, ii. 

• Festus, S.V. delubrum, *• de Vallemont*s Physique occulte, 1696, p. la 

• De Mor, Germ, x. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Rod and Rhabdomafuy. 53 

marking the pieces different ways, and casting them pell-mell and 
at hazard on a white garment The priest or the father of the 
family then drew conclusions from the lie of the sticks. Ammianus 
Marcellinus (/. 31) described a similar practice of the women 
among the Alans who foretold the future by very straight rods, 
cut with secret enchantments at certain times and marked very 

The diyining-rod, which in France 200 years ago was generally 
such a young sapling of the coudrier or nut as sprang naturally 
forked from near the ground, was to be cut with a single sweep of 
the knife on Mercury's day (Wednesday) at the planetary hour of 
Mercury. It was inscribed with certain characters and enchanted 
with a prayer, now lost to us. Pierre Belon of Mans called it the 
caduc^e which in Latin is named virga divina, and which the 
Germans use in spying out veins of ore.* Matthias Willenus wrote 
on the divining-rod a tractate which he called De vera Virgulce 
Mercurialis relatione (Jena, 1672?). This use of the divining-rod for 
the discovery of mines must have been of extremely ancient date. 
The German Benedictine Basilius Valentinus gave seven chapters 
to it in his Testamentum (circa 1490), stating that it was in very 
common use among the miners of Germany. Georgius Agricola 
in his De re inetallicA^ '5 50, also treated of it as an ordinary 
appliance of the German miners.* 

Were Herm6s, as the emissary of the gods, a messenger who 
went up and down the Universe-Axis between heavens and earth, 
it would accord with many points about him : as, his winged wand 
of gold,' which would be the symbol of the Axis itself ; his phallic 
symbolism, which also belongs to the Axis ; his musical accom- 
plishments, for we have numerous Axis-gods who are musical ; his 
dispensing of good luck, for Fortune's wheel (of the Universe) 
turns upon his wand, three-leafed and golden ; his head-dress, for 
as Paul de Saint- Victor says*: "two light wings quiver on his 
rounded cap, the vault of heaven in little " (see also " The Winged 

A remark of Festus here aids me. He said the Greeks used 
herma, Ipfta, pro firmamento, and one of its significations clearly was 
a prop or support. This seems to me to be referable to the axis. 
Festus (as garbled) went on to say that the name of Mercurius — 

* Observations^ (^553) >> 50| i6. * de Vallemont*s Physique occuUe^ 1696, p. 10. 

• Odyssey^ xxiv, 2. ^ J^s deux masques (in Myih^ KU, and ReL, ii, 259). 

Digitized by 


54 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

he must have meant 'E/)/a^9 — came from this Ipfia; and this in 
my view would make Hermes an axis-, an Atlas-god. 

Indeed I think there can be little doubt that the winged 
caduceus is the winged Axis which turns, or upon which turns, the 
whole gigantic machine. Perrot and Chipiez (iv, fig. 353) give a 

" Hittite " caduceus of the Phcenician type 9 where the round 

part is a sphere in relief, the sphere on the axis in point of fact 
A similar instance is pointed out by M. Goblet d'Alviella' in De 
Witte and Lenormant's Monuments Cirafnographiques, The wings 
of the Rod-axis must be allowed the same import as those of the 
Winged Sphere (see that section) and of Kronos, that is to say the 
impelling-round, the flying-round, of the Universal Sphere upon its 

axis. On the (Phoenician tolonial) coins of Carthage the 9 inter- 
changes with the winged sphere ^^^L^^ above the horse.' On 
stelae of similar origin, the same ** caduceus" permutes with the 
ring (or wheel-tire?) at either side of the cone* (or triangle?). 
The possibility and significance of this mutation explains itself 
tout seul on the Universe-rotation theory — and on no other. 

M. Ph. Berger connects the Phoenician 9 with the Hebrew 

ashdrah,* that is of course (as here abundantly shown) with the 

Universe-Tree whose trunk is the axis. That the y was used as 

a war-standard and as a battle-axe — a god's celestial weapon — ^is 
clear from M. Goblet's* book above quoted, pp. 288 to 291. Like 
the ^gl^^, the dokana (which see), and many other supreme 
symbols, it was sacred and ritualistic, and was also taken to the 

' As to this symbol, see "The Trident." 
' Migration da SymboUs (1891) 286. 

• Ibid, 289 (citing Hunter, table xv, 14 ; and Lajard pi. xlv, 5). 
^ Ibid, (citing Corp, inscrip, Semitic, tab. liv, 368). 

* Gaz, ArcfUol. 1880, 127. 

< I have to thank M. Henri Gaidoz for drawing my attention to this just-published 
book (Paris, Leroux, 1891) on the occasion of a visit to Paris (i8th April 1891) when 
this first volume of this Inquiry was partly in print. I have much pleasure in directing 
the attention of students to its numerous well-winnowed, well-grouped, and clearly- 
presented facts and illustrations. Even setting aside its migration theories altogether (as 
to which liberavi animam meam in the Disputatio Circulatis)^ it is a most able and 
useful publication. Here and there I kept on fancying as I read on, that M. Goblet 
d'Alviella was nearing some of the theories of this Inquiry ; but no : he passed by on the 
other side. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Rod and Rhabdomancy. 55 

battle as a talisman, a representative of the great god (of war). 
Here in this double function, religious and warlike, we have the 
whole genesis of the inviolability of insignia of authority: the 
standard, le drapeau, the flag, the ensign, the rod of empire, the 
regalia, the sceptre, the mace, the wand, the staff of office, le biton 
de Marshal, le vei^e du Sergent, and even the truncheon truncated 
of its emblems. In spite of all that. Mercury favouring, the 

winged y (save for the persistent attachment of ^ to the planet 

Mercury, and of y to Taurus, in the almanacks) has now sunk down 
to a mere dummy stereo or cliche in engravings of Industry and 

Of course it is the merest puerility to derive Mercurius from 
merx merchandise, as Festus did. The word is doubtless mer -f 
curius ; and curius comes from curis, an Osk word, the Sabine spear 
(see Index). Merus means pure and, as also meaning " central 
essential," is put by Mr. E. R. Wharton* with the Oldlrish meddn, 
and is so compared with Latin medius, as follows : 

" J/<frar unadulterated : * central, essential,* « *medus MEDH- Me^wi'iy a 
town, Olr. tnedbn /Wo-w, cf. MEDH- J- medius." 

"fUo-a-os middle : *fi4$'joSf Lati medius^ Olr. meddtiy Got. midjis Eng., 
OSlav. meidinu^^ 
Now here we are at once taken to the MeDea class of words 
(which see), and MerCurius becomes the central-Speargod. There 
is an old recognition of the first syllable mer- meaning middle in 
Arnobius (iii, ii8)*: Mercurius etiam quasi quidam medi-currius 
dictus. That is middle-runner (medius -f curro). 

Mer- is to be found in the names of many other divinities. 
M^po9 Meros Merus was the Indian Mt. Meru, which the classic 
ancients considered sacred to Jupiter and Mercury. 

A friend has here favoured me with the following note, which seems to 
run counter to my speculations : " Latin medius (Greek \U<to%^ Sanskrit madhyas) 
contains original dh which never becomes r in Latin, d it is true sometimes 
becomes r in Latin, but in that case no Greek or Indian word would show the 
r (as in M^por and Meru)." 

Merops Mepoyjr the putative father of ^aidcDv the Brilliant (who 
was really the son of Helios) may perhaps be put in the category 
of gods in Mer-, as must Merop^ daughter of Atlas (or one of the 
Pleiades, or the daughter of Sol and sister of Phaeth6n). 

' Etyma Latina and Graca. 

* See aUo S. Augustine Civ, Dei, vii, 14, and Isid. Orig. viii, II. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

56 The Night of the Gods. [A. 


fiipoy^ bee-eater, and yAponts men, are here very puzzling. (A god of the 
West would be a bee-eater, a star-eater, as the constellations set.) 
So must Mermeros the Centaur. Here it is impossible to avoid 
reference to all that is said elsewhere as to Marmar (see Index). 

Yama (= restrainer ?) the first man is titled Dandi or Danda- 
dhara, the Rod-bearer. The celestial Dandaka forest lies between 
the heavens-rivers God^vari and Narmad^. 

The lituus of the sheep- shepherd was called a pedum (seizer?). 
It is found in the hands of Pan, the Fauni, Acteon, Ganymede, 
Attis, Paris, and so forth. But the lituus with which the Roman 
augur traced his divination templum was the distinctive ensign of 
an augur, and had been in use time immemorial, as the fact that 
lituus is an Etruscan word and the preservation of the lituus " of 
Romulus " in the curia of the Salii* might attest. A drawing of it 
will be found farther on. 

The nio-i (Chinese ju-i) is a short curved wand commonly- 
ending in a kind of trefoil. It is used in Japan chiefly by the 
Buddhist high priests of the Zen sect, and it is generally carved 
from jade or some other precious stufl^.* 

The Egyptian rod or wand was some five feet in length, and 

held thus |j^ It ended in a flower or a knob, and was a token of 

command and distinction.' The god Nefer-Atmu (Ptah's son) 
rests upon his shoulder the magic wand which looks like a horned 
serpent »<-ew, and would thus give a pregnant gloss upon the bible- 
story of the rods of Aaron and the other magicians. However, 

the head is said to be a ram's, and its name is ur hekau 3?^ 8 L-J . 

It replaced the instrument f — % in the ceremony of opening the 
mummy's mouth.* The lituus which was the Roman augur's 

crooked " crozier-*'wand \^ is found upon the divine headdress 

\J net or "^ which connects an Egyptian deity with the North, 
and also upon that ry "^ o se;^et which implies power over 
both North and South (see Sesennu) ; but not upon that which 
indicates gods of the south alone, the nefer Q This seems an 
important series of facts, as connecting the lituus specially with 

* Cicero, Divin. i, 17. 

- Anderson's (most valual)le) Cat. of Jap, paitUings in Brit, Mtis.^ pp. 32, 66. 

3 Pierret: Did. (TArck, Egypt. 112, 213. ^ Pierret : Vocab. ill, 380. 

Digitized by 



The Rod and Rhabdomancy. 


the North and, sis I should be disposed to maintain, with the 
Northern end of the Universe-Axis ; while the pristine type of all 
magic rods would be the axis itself. The Egyptian rods were also 
standards (with or without flags ?) in the priest's hands in sacred 
processions and ceremonies; and they were then topped with a 
god's hat, a sacred animal, a naos, a lotus-flower, a sacred barque, 
and so forth.* The uas 1 or sceptre borne by some gods is clearly a 

variety of the wand. The '* greyhound's " head with ears laid-back 

which tops it may refer to the dog at the North end of the Axis ? 

As to these ears, however, Mr. Flinders Petrie's remarkable 

^Nv exhibition of 1890 contained a lintel from the temple 

^^^^v of Tehutimes III at Gurob which seemed to me so 

^ p\ forcibly to suggest an ass's head on the uas that I 

\ ^ ventured to take a ^: 

rough sketch of it. 

(Portion of the A;^imu 

have the uas ears.) It 

is strange enough that 

in Ovid's (Met. xi, 85) 
legend of Pan's companion Midas 
we have both the ass's ears and 
the wand (under the alias of the 
reeds that whisper). There is also 
a horse-eared or ass-eared Irish 
Lynch. Mr. Flinders Petrie has 
also in the kindest way lent me 
for engrraving the two examples of animal 
staff-heads which here follow, of the full size. 
They were probably held in the hands of 
statuettes of gods or kings. The face of the 
smaller, which is of bronze, looks like some 
antelope, and when contrasted with the 
ass-head drawing seems to add point to 
W. Pleyte's somewhat vague statement tliat 
" provisionally we might theorise the symbolic 
head of the god Set to be composed of tlie 
oryx or the ass, with the two feathers of Set- 
Nehes."* The monstrous conventional ears 


* Pienret, DicL 1 1 2, 213. 

' Lettn d Th, Devh-ia, Leide, 1863, p. 


Digitized by- 


5^ The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

which form the top of the other (a wooden) staff-head, do seem 
almost to differentiate off into the two feathers of head-dresses. 
In this case the face is unmistakeably like a greyhound ; and no 
one can possibly say that all the three types were taken from any 
one animal The connection of Set with this staff or sceptre is of 
course a moot point, and more ;nay perhaps be said about it under 
the heading " Set" 

The heq j or pedum is even more like a bishop's crozier than 

the lituus. It was a sign of authority (joined to the scourge) in 
the hands Of Osiris and the Pharaohs ; and tieq meant to govern, 

direct, conduct ; and also princC) regent The uat' sceptre J, with 

the lotUs-flower, is peculiar to goddesses, and is rendered a-tcrJTrrpov 
in the Decree of Canopus. The word also meant pillar, prop, and 

adoration. The Sceptre \ of King Semempses f ^ J of the 

first dynasty Sometimes differs from the Uas at the wrong end of 
the stick) the South. Mr. Petrie remarks that this figure of 
Semempses is the regulation Ptah. 

But M. Pierret says (Z^V/. 496) " thete was no toyal sceptre properly so- 
called." De Roug^ said {Notice Sommairey 86) "the I'ecurved stick has the 
simple form of the royal sceptre*'* 

This "sceptre" | is still now often carried as a "stick" by the 

Bedawfn of the Sinai peninsula -} and Mr. Petrie says it is evidently 
a natural branch with the thick stem- part carved into a head. If 
there be anything in my conjectures about Set (see also Index), 
this may be important 

M. Pierret' remarks that the Use of the head of the stick in the 
Egyptian oath, to which Chabas drew attention in the Abbott 
papyrus, femains to be explained. I shall just note down the 
following coincidences for future examination ; 

I ^ ^j*^^ apt, stick, measuring-rod, plank. 

' ° Hr ^P^ ^^ Apet, the goddess Thoueris. 
^ ams, stick or ensign. 
^v gJl-s j^ Amseth, " funeral genius." 

Will it turn-out that there is any connection between the Egyptian name 
of (the Greek) Osiris, and this uas sceptre ? Dev^ria gave Osiris as Uasri 
* Baedeker : L(nv4r Egypt y 468. ' Vocab* 405. 

Digitized by 


Myihs.\ The Rod and Rhabdomancy. 59 

^ ) " m ^, and it is also given* as As-ra, jj "^ Is the god's name 
compounded of Uas and Ra ? As itself jj rs is Isis, and as was also a ^welling 

[I ; but she was also called Hes ft ^^^ ^^ which was too the name of 

the sacred heifer adored from the most ancient times of the Egyptian empire ; 
hes was also a vase. 

Uas as the sceptre 1 was wiitten -y | ^^^ I 
Uash, to invoke ^ ] ^^. CSCD ^ 
Uas, a greyhound, T ^ (see also Index). 

Uat, Thebes, 


M. Pierret says 1 was not always read as uas, and gives as examples 1 11 

uab and 1 -^^ smu. Dr. Birch gives uab and us for T and 1, 
The following transcriptions of Osiris are from Dr. Birch's Egyptian Texts.* 
Asar (twice) ri - 

4th dynasty. 

i8th „ 



1 3th, 30th, and a6th dynasty. 

1 8th dynasty. 

38th „ 

Asar (once) and Hesar (thrice) ■^'^"^ 

Hesar J|-<a>- 

Asar (four times) H .<sz>- J^ . 

Asar (four times) rj -^ • 
Asar PI'S .... 
Asar^ > . - . 

The god Ans-Ra (| ® ^ occurs in the Per^em-hru^ i.e.^ "The Book 

of Coming Forth by day " (Book of the Dead) xlii, 2 j' Wiedemann* gives 
(among other readings) Heseri for Osiris ; Auser has also been proposed (as 
well as Auset for Isis) ; and the latest and nearest reading for Osiris is 

Mr. Budge's Ausares (| ^ H ^^ ^ .• 

To these magic wands belong the Staff of Solomon given to 
King Bahr^m Guhr in the Persian tale by the lord of one of the 
four cardinal Kif-mountains of the Universe. It caused any door 
to fly open, no matter how strong it might be, and even if guarded 

* Pierret's Vocab. 48, 109* • Bagster and Sons, ». d, ■ Pierret, Vacab, 37. 
■• Wiedemann, Aegypfisches Gtsckichte^ p. 108. 

* Brit. Mus. Papyrus 10,188, Col. xxviii. 1. 21. Ed. Budge, On the Hieratic Papyrus 
0/ Nesi-Amsuy in ArcAaec/ogta, voL lii* p» 166. 

Digitized by 


6o The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

by talismans and enchantments. In the KathA Sarit Sdgara what- 
ever is written on the staff of the (male) Asura Maya comes true. 
In Stanislas Julien's Indian tales from the Chinese the enemies of 
the Two (demon) Pisashas yield humbly to their staves. In the 
Tamil Madana Kdmardja Kadai^ one cudgel can belabour enemies 
if aimed at them, and another can put a vast army to death in the 
twinkling of an eye. In a Norse tale the North-Wind gives the 
Lad a stick which lays-on when told-to. 

It might be asked whether the sortes Virgilianae, the consulting of Vergilius 
in preference to other authors for omens, may not have been due to a connection 
of his name with virga which, though a conmion word, was applied to the 
caduceus of Mercury. This would be one way of accounting for his reputation 
as a diviner. De Quincey suggested that his necromancing character grew out 
of the fact that his mother's father was called Magus.* But Homer was resorted 
to for the same purpose. 

A strange revival of the rhabdomantic craze is just now in progress ; and 
the Fortnightly Review for August 1890 furnished some interesting information 
about it. The advancers of this kind of thing are by no means to be set down 
as " dotty in the crumpet " (as they say in East Kent) : very very far from it 
indeed, one would guess. " A patient who is not put to sleep, or in any way 
placed under hypnotism, places his hands on those of a * subject' who is 
hypnotised, while an assistant moves a big magnetised rod with three branches 
for a minute or two in front of the arms of the patient and subject. ... If 
the ' subject ' is a woman and the patient a man, she becomes convinced that 
she is a man, and talks about her whiskers " [risum teneatis, amici I] " With the 
aid of a dynamometer you can measure the exact amount of power transferred 
from the subject to the patient "(!) Remark however the trident reappearing 
at the end of the Rod. 

And, after all, multitudes of very worthy folk still piously and literally 
believe that the Egyptian magicians " cast down every man his Rod, and they 
became serpents " ; while the greater magician" Aaron's Rod swallowed up their 
Rods".« Readers of this Inquiry should careftiUy note that Aaron equals 
Mountain or The High, and that the Universe Mountain-Rod is in all legends 
the unique Atlas-Axis ; several axis-deities are also seen to be swallowed up by 
the Earth in the course of the Inquiry, The connection of the Serpent and the 
Rod is also a universal myth, and no instance of it is unimportant. 

Thq blossoming rod is paralleled by the brazen club of 
H^rakl^s, which (apud Lampridium) .sweated at Minucia. 
Another of his cudgels was of wild-olive, and he dedicated it to 
Hermes after the war with the giants. It took root, and became 
a monster tree. Euripides called the club of Th^seUs EpiDaurian 
because he won it from the giant PeriPh^t^s whom he killed in 

' One traditional distortion of his name is the Irish hedge-schoolboy *s reading of 
P. Vergilii Maronis as Paddy Virgil the Mariner. 
* Exodus f vii, 12. 

Digitized by 


Myths ^ The Rod and Rhabdomancy. 6' 

EpiDauros^ And Dauros of course is cognate with iopv, the spear 
of Kronos. 

The riding of witches on sticks, if one reflects upon it, seems 
groundless nonsense until connected with the axis conception of 
the Rod. Of the two omentum-spits (vapishrapants) for roast- 
ing the navel-fat at the sacrifices in the Satapatha-brdhmana^ one 
was quite straight, the other bifurcate on the top, which is like the 
rod used for water-finding and the uas sceptre. 

The beating of bounds (or of boys round bounds) with rods 
must not be forgotten. At the annual festival of D^m^t^r at 
Pheneos in Arcadia the priest hid his face with the round cover of 
the petroma ( — the custom of looking in the hat is still kept up in 
English churches — ) and beat with rods the worshippers who filed 
before him.* But this beating is also to be connected with some 
prior human sacrifice — perhaps beating to death with clubs. 

Ascension- T'A^rjday is the date for bounds-beating with long 
willow wands peeled or not; and the three days before it are 
rogation or asking days. The week is called the gang- (gangan, 
to go) or procession-week, a name as archaic as these pagan 
perambulations, which halted for worship at holy trees and wells. 
The connection of these processions with the ascension or re- 
ascension of a heaven-descended deity must again claim attention 
under the heading of " The Dokana." 

* J. Eggeljng's, ii, 194, • Pans, viii, 15, I. 

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The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

5. — The Fleur-de-Lis at the point of the 

SURMOUNTED by the fleur-de-Lis, the earth-Axis is 
depicted pointing to the North on almost every map of every 
country ; and the same symbol of the fleur-de-Lis is found 
universally on the needles of the most ancient mariner's compasses. 
" This Mariners Compasse," said Henry Peacham in his Compleat 
Gentleman (1627) "hath the needle in manner of a Flowre-deluce 
which pointeth still to the North" (p. 65). With this must be 
bracketed the three-leafed wand of Hermes. Passing by for the 
moment its by no means inconsistent significance as the masculine 
emblem of fecundity, the most ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, 
Persian, Arabic, Armenian, Byzantine, and European examples ; 
whether on sceptres, crowns, helmets, coins, seals, or monuments ; 
whether in mosques or in tombs ; in art, in heraldry, in industry, 
or on playing-cards, show the fleur-de-Lis to be no lily-flower but 
a triple unison, the emblem of a triad. Its French renown is a 
mere modem vulgarisation, an adoption during the crusades and 
dating from Louis VII, about A.D, 11 37. It is amusing to find 
that it was popularly believed that the directors of the Mus^e du 
Louvre had added the fleur-de-Lis to the first arrival of Nineveh 
antiquities as a base flattery of Louis XVIII. It is, I suggest, 
briefly the emblem of the Chinese Tai-Ki, the origin of all things, 
with the dual co-principles yin and yang, into which that origin 
opened or divided. 

Tai-ki, the Yin, and the Yang — in Japan the In-y6 — form the 
triad represented by Hatori and Hirata in their cosmic diagrams. 
The primitive mode chosen by these Japanese commentators for 
the representation of the triad consists in three black spots shown 
at the upper portion of a large circle which figures the heavens. 
The pole-star is the upper part of the heavens, said Hirata,^ and 
must therefore have been the habitation of the three primeval kami 
or gods, who are (i) Ame no Minaka-Nushi,Lord of the Awful-centre 
of Heaven (not simply " of the middle," or " in the very centre," as it 
has been rendered), (2) Taka Mimusubi, and (3) Kamu Mimusubi, or 

' Mr. Satow's Ihtre Shifttd, 60, 61. 

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MytAs.] The Fleur-de-Lis, 63 

the ineffably-begotten Taka and Kamu, who can have no connection 
with the Sun, as has been surmised, but correspond to the Chinese 
yin and yang, while Tai-Ki is represented by the Japanese Centre- 
Lord. The true root-signification of Kamu is to be sought in kami 
upper, whence god, and Taka is no more than taka height ; but 
both words are obviously adjectival names, and not empty 
honorifics, as the Japanese Shintdists now seem to think. 

It would be impossible fully to develop the remoteness and 
universality of the fleur-de-Lis emblem without reproducing a 
great portion of M. Adalbert de Beaumont's Essay on the subject, 
and some of its 438 well-chosen designs.^ Suffice it to say that 
the emblem is here traced farther even than he has followed it, for 
preoccupied by the flower idea he — in common with the late 
Francois Lenormant — makes it the hom or haoma, the sacred 
plant, the tree of life of Mazdeism. As the haoma or world-Tree 
myth is in this Inquiry identified with that of the Universe-Axis, 
the conclusion reached by a totally independent path is, I find not 
without satisfaction, practically the same as that of M. de 
Beaumont, whose captivating Essay I did not read until this 
chapter was far advanced. If previous speculations be consulted* 
it will probably be concluded that we have here too the long- 
sought origin of the Prince of Wales's Plume (as to which see also 
the heading of " Feathers"), 

The Irish emblem too, as well as the French, still retains its 
triune significance ; and thus, though it now grows underfoot, the 
Shamrock — the word is also in Persian— is to be carried back to 
the same supernal, universal origin. Wherever the white-skinned 
yellow-haired Welsh Olwen trod there sprang up four white 
trefoils.* Here we have the shamrock and the footprint 
together. The symbolism of the four-leaved shamrock 
would refer to the cardinal points (see " The Four Living w^^M^ 
Creatures"). It may be seen in the palms and 
(more conventionally) on the breast of " the Buddha V^ 
of Bengal, as a Brahminical avatar," in Moor's 
HindA Pantheon (plate 75). manos 

[It should be noted that the Egyptian hieroglyph for East is % which 
might be thought to be the needle-point This point is not clear to me.] 

* Recherches sur Porigine du Blason ; et en particulur sur la FUur de Lis. Paris, 
Leleux, 1853. 

' See, for instance, Fraset^s Ma^zine for 188 1. ■ Rhys*s Hib. Lecis. 490. 

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^4 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 


The following emblems, analogous to or identical with the fleur- 
de-Lis are taken from Moor's HindA Pantheon, 

I. pendant lotus-blossom held by four-handed 
Vishnu (plate 75) . 

2. lotus-blossoms, chaliced flowers 
that lie, on the surface of 
the waters whereon floats 
NAr^yana the Supreme Spirit 
"moving on the waters''* 
(plate 20) . 

3. held in left hand of D^vi (goddess) consort of 

Shiva (plate 41) 

4. these appear right and left of the head of the 

man-bird-god Garuda (plate 40) . 

5. three of the numerous sect-marks of ^v^ 

Vishnu-worshippers (plate 2) • I I I 

6. held by four-handed D^vi-BhavAnl . 

7. on head-dress of Shiva-Bhairava (plate 95). 

Compare helmet from Nineveh, p. 64. 

8. held by four-handed Vy^ghra Y^yt (plate 40) 

In the Rev. Dr. Wm. Wright's Empire of tlie Hittites, are 
drawings of several of the triple en)blems resembling the fleur-de-Lis 
and the shamrock which are found among the Khetan (" Hittite ") 
sculptured characters of Asia Minor : 

^ <h^ 

* Sir Monier Williams, Hinduism, loi ; Manu, i, 10. 

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The Fleur-de-Lis. 



There is another distinct type of flower-and-leaf " Hittite " emblems 
which may also have a triple significance, as well as a connection 
with the haoma or soma plant of eternal life : 


[Capt Conder* suggests that the first group (of three) mean life^ 
and the second group (of three) signify male. The fourth of the 
third group he considers an Aaron's rod or sceptre ; and the fourth 
group mean growth he believes, or to live!\ 

The fleurnde-Lis is shown clearly on the helmet-top of one of the 
colossal figures at an entrance of Kuyunjik, as engraved by 
Layard* and now in the British Museum. See also No. 7 just 
below. Capt Conder notes the fleur-de-Lis as a frequent mason's- 
mark in Syria.* A few ancient examples of the fleur-de-Lis are 
here added from De Beaumont : 

No. I is from a tomb at Teheran ; 

2, from a Maroccan MS. of the Koran, xiith century ; 

3, from a Kufic MS of the viiith century ; 

' Altaic Hieroglyphs, 65, 57, 102. * Nineveh and Babylon , 462. * Heih and Moab^ 56 


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66 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

No. 4, Egyptian gold collar ornament ; 

5, handle of an Egyptian wooden spoon ; 

6, on crown of a sphinx ; 

7, Royal helmet, Nineveh ; 

8, Arab coin (from Marsden) ; 

9, crown of King David— Saxon MS. of xith century, Brit Mus. (fix)n;i 

Twining's Symbols of Christian Arty 1885), 

The North and South emblems for Lower j^ and Upper Jf Egypt 
are triple (and tri-triple) like the fleur-de-Lis, and deserve notice/ 
What is called by the art-experts a "lily" on a 
bishop's mitre of the xiiith century given by Du 
Sommerard in Les Arts du Moyen Age, is clearly a 

An Arabic name for the star Arcturus (Somech- 
haramach) is properly Al-siro^k al-rdmih, "the prop 
that carries a spear "-head. Rumh* means the spear- 
head itself, and I think we thus have the clue to the 
true origin of the rhumbs of the compass, which has been such 
a fruitful source of discussions. 

The transfer of the word in treatises on navigation from the radius (spear) 
of the compass to the corresponding line steered on the globe by a ship seems 
to have been the origin of much of the confusion. Hues says (p. 127) that 
" those lines which a ship, following the direction of the magnetical needle, 
describeth on the surface of the sea, Petrus Nonius (Pedro Nunez, 1567) 
calleth in the Latin Rumbos, borrowing the appellation of his countrymen the 
Portugals; which word, since it is now (1594- 1638) generally received by 
learned writers to express them by, we also will use the same." And again 
(p. 130) "when a ship saileth according to one and the same rumbe (except it 
be one of the four principal and cardinal rumbes) it is a crooked and spiral line" 
she describes on the globe. 

Another similarly named star is Spica, the corrupt Arabic name 
for which, Hazimath al-hacel, is for Al-simak-al-a'zal, the unarmed 

The Egyptian Ptah was the embodiment of organising motive power, the 
symbol of the ever-active ^shioning generative energy developed from 
moisture, and M. de Beaumont easily identifies the fleur-de-Lis as the symbol 
of humidity, fecundity, strength, and kingly power. This accessory significance 
is attendant upon and concordant with the world-Axis conception. At times 
the two run parallel, and again they converge and coalesce. Thus while the 
Japanese savant Hirata, commenting on the collection of Ancient Matters 
called the Koski^ represents the spear of Izanagi and Izanami as the earth- Axis, 
he also gives it the form of the lingam.* A leading incident in this myth is 
» Pierret : Diet, 199. » Hues's Tractatus de Glolris (Hakluyt See. 1889), p. 209. 

■ Pure Shintd, 67. 

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MythsJ\ The Fleur-de-Lis. 67 

the bad form of the goddess Izanami in " proposing " to the god Izanagi. 
There is a straight parallel in the remarkable Vedic dialogue-hynm in which 
Yam! urges cohabitation upon her twin-brother Yama. 

In the Nikangi (Japan-Chronicle) the smith Ama tsu Mara forges a spear 
in the reign of the second mythical Mikado Suizei. In the Kozhiki (Ancient- 
Aflairs-Chronicle), however, this smith is called in to the aid of the eighty or 
eight hundred myriads of deities met in divine assembly in the bed of the 
tranquil Heavens-river. The straight translation of the smith's name (which, as 
Mr. B. H. Chamberlain has pointed out,* is slurred over by every native 
commentator) is phallus of heaven. Mr. Chamberlain also connects this 
Mara deity of heaven with the deity One-Eye of heaven (Ama no Ma-hitotsu) ; 
and we shall see elsewhere that the Eye of heaven is at the end of the spear- 
axis. Again Hirata Atsutane in his Koshi Den (Ancient-Affairs Conmientary) 
supposing the spear, Nu-hoko, to have been of iron in the form of the lingam 
(as above), interprets the syllable nu to mean tama^ which signifies both jewel 
and ball ; the rest of the compound word being hoko^ a kind of lance or spear. 
Hephaistos too was a heavenly smith, and made the Zodiac-shield of Achilles 
and the palace all of brass and sprinkled with brilliant stars which is clearly the 
firmament ; and in his character as the male principle was the mate of 
Aphrodite hersel£ On this subject Creuzer made the following observation ; 
without, of course, any knowledge of the Japanese facts : 

" Hermes is the divine minister par excellence. He is a mediator-god who 
puts heaven and earth in communication, and thus conduces to the finishing of 
the work of universal creation. Such ought to have been the hidden meaning 
of the mysterious phallos in the religions of Samothrace.^ 

The Universe-axis is also the connector of heaven and earth. 

M. de Beaumont pointed out that the fleur-de-Lis crowns 

Osiris and Isis as being engendered from the Primeval Ptah, 8 ^ 

the most ancient of the Egyptian gods, the Lord of Heaven, the king 
of the world. It might be added that it is also, in sceptre 
form, in the glyphic of Ptah himself, the head of the gods, 
the greatest of them ; whose black Apis bull bore a white 
triangle on its forehead. 

Just as the Chinese Ti (see Index) has been detected 
in the Scythian Tivus, so M. de Beaumont would see in 
the fleur-de-/ts the Chinese li, a governor. I transcribe his 
remarks : 

U en Celtique signifie roi^ souvercdn (page 83, ii« vol du Dictionncdre 
Celtiqtu), U en Chinois signifie gouvemeur, et a d(i signifier aussi souvercdn^ 
puisque lie signifie lot tmp^riale (page 83, id,), Llys en Celtique veut dire salUy 
caur^ palais; Gwer-Lys, homme de cour. En Chinois palL K, cour, demeure 
du souverain (voy. le m^me Dictionnaire). Faisons remarquer que la manifere 

' Ko'ji'ki^ or Records of Ancient Matters^ p. 55. 
' Guignaut's Creuzer, ii, 298. 

£ 2 


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68 The Night of the Gods, [Axis 

dont on prononce le mot Jifur ae its^ sans faire sentir Vs est parfaitement 
d'accord avec Forthographie Celtique (p. 105). 

As to this question of French pronunciation the dropping of 
the s may be only an archaism, and such is M. Henry Gaidoz's 
opinion.* The English version " flowre-deluce," as above (p. 62) 
seems to show that the s was pronounced. Altogether, we must 
not lay more stress than they will bear on these speculations of 
M. de Beaumont's. It might however be added that the two Rivers 
(the only rivers then in the Universe) which Brdn's ships sailed 
over, were called the Lli and the Archan.* If we choose to make 
these the heavens-rivers, we have a water-lily, a lotus (see drawing 
on p. 64) for the fleur-de-Lli. But this is still much too vague for 
anything but a mere indication. The Irish "Lochlann like the 
Welsh Llychlyn denoted a mysterious country in the lochs or the 
sea,"' which I should interpret as the Universe-Ocean, the Waters. 
The name Llian or Lliaws occurs in the Welsh Triads ;* and the 
bursting of the Llyn Llion or Llivon's Lake caused the Welsh 
deluge. *' One of the tarns on Snowdon, several of which have 
very uncanny associations, is called Llyn Llydaw or the Lake of 
Llydaw. What can the meaning of the name have been ?" asks 
Prof. Rhys.* Llyr is also a name in the Triads* and so is Lieu, 
whose eagle-avatar would make him a central heavens-bird-god 

We seem to detect the transition of the sccptral form of the fleur-de-lis 
into the trident- weapon in the following instances taken from Moor's HindU 
Pantheon: — 

J, held by the four-handed goddess Palyanga Bhavint 

(plate 40) 

2, held by four-handed Rudrdnt (plate 40) 

3, held by four-handed D^vi (goddess) consort of Shiva 
(plate 38) « « . 

> Letter of 21 Janvier 1888. ' Rhys*s Hibbert Lectures, 96. 

' Ibid, 355. < Ibid. 180, 463, 583. 

* Ibid, 168. « Ibid, 249, 425, 405. 

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The Fleur-de-Lis. 


4, held in the uppermost right one of the eight hands of 
Durgi (plate 35) 

5, these three are held in the hands 
of " very ancient brass casts " of 
unidentified deities (plate 99) . 

6, held, right and left, in two of the four hands of 
D6vi (plate 37) 

7, held by six-handed DurgA "killing" (?) 
MahishAsura (plate 37). [Moor does not 
seem to have fully apprehended this group, 
which may be phallic] . 

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70 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

6 —The Trident. 

** '^ I ^HE trisCila or trident emblem which crowns the gateways 
JL of the tope at Sanchi may be, and I am inclined to believe 
does," wrote Fergusson,^ " represent Buddha himself." This is a 
recognition of the supremacy of the emblem certainly ; but it 
cannot be admitted that a triple emblem means but one, unless 
that one be a three-in-one ; and Fergusson put himself a little 
straighter where he (p. 102) recognised the Buddhist trinity of 
Buddha Dharma and Sanga, which would parallel the Chinese 
Tai-Ki Yin and Yang. 

Here is a typical outline of the top of the " Buddhist" /trisAla. 
This particular example (from which the 
minute ornamentation is here omitted') 
occurs in the sculptures of Amravati. It 
I I is of course ab initio one of the emblems 

v^^^^-"*^ ^"^^v— ^ of a triune supreme heavens-god. Siva 
is commonly represented " holding in his hand a trisdlla or trident 
called Pin4ka."* Colebrook^ pointed out that TrisCila was a 
surname of the 24th Tirthankara of the Jainas ; and they figured 
the tree-of-knowledge or Kalpavriksha as a three-branched stem 
on the mitres of the Tirthankaras carved in the Gwalior caves.* 
This connects the trisCila with the Universe^tree. 

In his Migration des Symbolesf M. Goblet d'Alviella unluckily adopts the 
misapprehension which lumps together under the name of trisiila the trisOla 
or trident itself and the winged wheel (see his pages 294 to 324) ; and his 
conclusion is (p. 323) that " la signification propre du tri^ula reste done k T^tat 
conjectural" He admits however one of my contentions in these words — " the 
trisiila might as well figure in the hands of HadSs or Poseidon," as among the 
attributes of Siva. Of course the straight and only strict meaning of tri-sOla 
is threepointed-pal or spear. He points out how it appears on sword- 
scabbards [which would be symbolic of a divine weapon] ; on banner poles 
[see my remarks on battle-standards at p. 55] ; on the back of the elephant ; 
above the throne of Buddha at Barhut ; on Buddha's footprint [over the winged 
wheel] ; on an altar where it is worshipped ; on a pillar enclosed in a stupa ; 
and as crowning staircases [which must be connected with the heavens- 

* If id. Arch, p. 97. * Dowson's Diet 299. » As, Researches (1809) vii, 306. 

* A. Rivelt-Caroac in Proceedgs. As. Soc. Bengal xliv. 

* Paris, Leroux, 1891. 

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The Trident. 


ladder]. It also opens and closes cave-inscriptions, and forms earrings and 
neck-pendants [which are simply amulets]. 

That the ccnnpound symbol consists of the trident and wheel was recognised 
by M. £. S^nart in his Esscd sur la Ugende du Botuidha^ and the rational 
simplicity of this explanation is partly admitted by M. Goblet (pp. 300, 301), 
who also points to £ug. Bumouf s* description of Buddha's head of hair as a 
ball topped in Ceylon by a sort of trident, while in Java' the trident surmounts 
the " rosette " [which I endeavour to identify with the wheel]. Mr. E. Thomas* 
also has detected in the compound symbol [misnamed after the tris{ila which is 
only one of its components] the emblem of Dharma the Law ; and Mr. Pincott 
saw in it the Dharma-chakra or wheel-of-the-Law.« But this compound symbol 
is, as I have stated above, the winged sphere or wheel applied on to th6 
trident or trisdla proper, the stem of which is even represented as a pillar or 
post fixed in its pediment This is completely accordant with the theories 
urged in this Inquiry^ which equate the spear-handle with the cosmic pillar. 
But we are now anticipating portion of the section on "The Winged 
Sphere," and it shall therefore only be added here that Brugsch has pointed 
out in the text of an Edfu inscription that Horus, when transformed into the 
winged sphere to combat the armies of Set, has a three-pointed spear for his 
weapon.* The tris^ila is seen above the ring (or wheel-tire ? but certainly not 
" the sun ") on a carving at Budh GayA'and, what is stranger still, on an archaic 
Grecian amphora," where it seems to usurp the place of the biform caduceus. 
These latter references are also taken from M. Goblet's new and valuable book, 
which is hereby again recommended to 'students in symbology. 

[The ancient trident- weapons of India the pindka or trisUla are in great 

numbers and of different forms. Mr. Rijendralila Mitra gives the three 

following forms in his Indo-Aryans (i, 313). 

It is impossible to blink the likeness to 

the fieur-de-Lis in two out of the three ; 

and my theory, in accordance with what 

has already been said about that emblem, 

would be that if they really were weapons, 

they were also insignia of conmiand. " One, 

of a short mace-like form mounted with three 

prongs and a small axe»blade, is peculiar." 

The sceptre-like appear- 
ance of this "weapon," and the presence ot the 
fieur-de-Lis, are alike for me unmistakeable. 

> Journal AHoHque 1875, p. 184. * Lotus de la Bonne Loi^ 539, 

* BorO'Botdoer op het Hkmdjava, Leiden, 1873, plate cdxxx, fig. lOO. 
^ Numismat, Chron, iv (new series) 282. 

* 751^ Tri-ratna in Jour. R.A.S. xix (new series) 242. 

* Migration des Symboles, 314. ' Numismat. Chron. xx (new series) pi. ii, fig. 37. 
" Elittdes Mon. Ciramogr. (1868), iii, pi. 91. 

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72 The Night of the Gods. [A. 


Huc> saw at Angti, near the Chinese frontier of Tibet, soldiers carrying 
tridents for weapons. Tridents, pikes, matchlocks and old carbines form the 
arms of the Chinese " braves " in South Yunnan ; to these are added at times 
huge horse-pistols and a kind of hammer or axe.*] 

In connection with the subject of the trident may be men- 
tioned the Sanko, or Three-Ancients (?) which is a small brass 
instrument with three prongs at each end, held when praying 
by the priests of I know not which particular Japanese Buddhist 
sect.* Mr. W. G. Aston informs me there are specimens oT the 
sanko in the British Museum, but I have missed examining them. 
It is manifestly like what M. Goblet d'Alviella* calls the dordj 
of the "lamas and bonzes," and it is found in the Sanchi 
sculptures. This also recalls the Pars! baresma. It is well- 
known also that the Indian temples of Siva are marked by a 

In fact the mind should be thoroughly cleared of the fixed 
idea that the trident is the exclusive personal property of either 
Neptune or Poseidon. 

" We passed a temple," writes Mr. Consul Bourne,* " containing a horrid 
image seated on a white ox, with a sash composed of human heads round its 
breast, and armed with a trident and bell. It had six arms covered with 
snakes, and three faces, with the usual scar in the middle of the forehead 
replaced by an Eye. An intelligent native told us it was the local god." 
I draw attention here not only to the trident but to the bell, 
and also to the Eye and to the three faces and six arms which 
denote a triad of deities in one. All these points are dwelt on 
again and again in the present Inquiry ; and here we find them all 
combined on the image of a "local" god in an out-of-the-way 
comer of South West China, at Ssu-mao-T*ing, among the Pai-i 
Shans, on 9th January. 1886. I cannot help thinking this a little 

The trident survives otherwise in the same locality among the Chinese 
braves. To an adverse criticism of the arm they carried (writes Mr. Bourne) — 
the ch^a or trident, a 3-pronged fork stuck on the end of a 6-foot pole — one of 
them objected emphatically ; and continued much as follows : " Those old 
barbarians [the Shans and Lolos] are very tough ; sword wo*n*t cut nor bullet 
pierce them ; what you do is to tie the man up ; then you lay his back on a flat 
stone, and run this trident into him. If one man can't get it through him, two 

' Travels (Hazlitt's translation) ii, 286. 

* A. R. Colquhoun*s Across Chrysi^ li, 53, 57. 

* Hepburn's Dictionary ^ sub voce. 
^ Migr, des SymboleSy 126. 

* Journey in South West China, Parly. Paper C. 5371 (1888), p. 19. 

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Myths.'] The Trident. 73 

or three can ; therefore the old barbarians fear the trident, and it is indispen- 
sable to us who guard the frontier" (p. 21). If one were to allow one's imagina- 
tion to run away, here is a parallel naturalistic to grotesqueness of the 
treatment meted out with his A(nn\ by Kronos to Ouranos. 

A curious trident, with one prong turned back, is figured in the modem 
imperial Chinese edition 
of the Chow Uy the cere- 
monial repertory of the <;3 
Chow dynasty 3,000 years 
ago. The prong called the blade is knife-hedged on the outer side, and is 
three-fourths of a (Chinese) foot long ; the stabber is longer and thicker, and 
the recurved prong is the strongest of the three.* (See also " The Weapons 
of the Gods.") 

On pi. 68 have been given some transitional examples con- 
necting the fleur-de-lis sceptre with the trident. The following, 
which complete the series and the connection, seem more decidedly 
tridential. They are all from Moor's HindA Pantheon, I trust 
that I am not out-tiring the reader ; but I know not of any better 
aid to the comparative study of symbolism than the grouping of 
its forms in this manner : 

I. held by four-handed Kandeh Rao {ix. the great- 
god Mah^d^va) plate 23 , 

2. held by four-handed Bhairava, the destroying 
Shiva (plate 24) 

3. held by ten-handed ape-headed Hanuman, the 
Ape-man-god (plate 93) . . ' . 

4. held by a four-armed Shiva (plate 13) 

* Biot: Le Tcheou-Li, 185 1, ii, 495. 

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The Night of the Gods. 


5. held by four-armed five-faced Mah4d6va- 
Panchamukh! (plate 15). One of these five 
heads is placed above the other four which 
face the cardinal points, thus giving us the 
Chinese view of the five quarters (see Index). 

held by four-handed elephant-headed Gantea 
(plate 45). It is also found in two of the four 
hands of Indra seated as MahAt on the three- 
trunked elephant of the Universe. The re- 
curving shows it to be the ankus goad of the 
Mahdt which, used as a shepherd's crook over 
the setting-on of the elephant's ear, makes him 
lie down. 

7, held in left hand of D6v! (goddess) 

consort of Shiva (plate 41). This form 
seems highly archaic .... 

8. sort of flesh-fork held downwards by 

Dui^i slaying Mahishdsura (plate 34). 



These three tridential forehead sect- 
marks of Vishnu-worshippers are also 
from Moor (plate 2). 

It is impossible to quit the trident-symbols without any mention 
of the bidenty which we must intimately connect with the dual 
conception of the supreme deity. Here \ ( \ f I li | III 
are four other sect-marks of Vishnli- \j \J V*/ v-/ 
worshippers (Moor, plate 2), of which two seem to indicate 
the transition to the triune sect-marks just given. A bident 
sceptre or weapon as held by Vishnu (plate 10) is added. 
The bident (S/iccXXa, bidens) and the horn of plenty were 
attributes of Plout6n or Plouteus, the source of riches.* 

' F. Lenonnant in Saglio, Dici, d€s Antiq. i, 632. 

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Mytks^ The Trident. 75 

Mr. Aston informs me he has seen the trident carried before a 
Korean ambassador in Japan ; and he rather thinks the trident was 
formerly not uncommon in Japan itself. 

The GAi-Bolga or barbed weapon of the Irish Ciichulainn, 
which he wields from below or from above, and with his feet or 
with his hands/ seems to be an Axis-Trident ; probably that 
double trident, North and South, •^— ^ which archeologists call 
"the thunderbolt" 

When the Satyr attempts violence upon Amum6n6, daughter 
of Danaiis and Elephantis, Poseidon throws his trident at him, and, 
missing the Satyr, implants the weapon in a neighbouring rock 
whence issue three water-jets (a Moses-miracle) that become the 
Lernian fountain.* 

The (Phoenician colonial) " caduceus " of Carthage 9 is a bident 

on the sphere (see " The Rod ") ; or rather, taking in the stem, a 
dvistXdi (to manufacture a word for comparison with trisiila) 
compounded with a sphere. Remember siila = spear or pal ; the 
dvis<x\9i is thus a twy-pointed spear. There can be no doubt 
whatever, from the monuments, that the resemblance of the 
trist^la to this " dvisOla " or caduceus is (as this Inquiry seeks to 
expound matters) due to the one being a symbol of divine duality, 
the other of a divine triad. M. Goblet d'Alviella, in contrasting the 
two, adds on in each case* the O which seems to me to indicate 
the sphere, orb, or wheel ;^ and in the case of two trisiilas he addii 
on the sidewings of the wheel or ring ; but he also duly records* 
how M. Ch. Lenormant and the baron de Witte recognised 
the idea of sexual duality, of an HermAphrodit^ in a single 
divine entity,, as being conveyed by the caduceus. For me, 
the duality, sexual or other, is indicated in the simplest way by 
the dual termination of the stem, just as the triple end indicates 
a triad. 

Caduceum was a herald's staff, but its conjectural formation 
" quasi from cSducus, stick oi fallen wood,"* is most unsatisfying. 
Caduceus being (like the Greek icrjpvKeio^) adjectival, baculus or 
baculum was supposed to be understood. Bac-ulum is compared 
with /SaK-rpov staff and /Sa/c-ny? strong, which are both (by an 
unconvincing etymology) brought from fiau/a> I walk. It seems to 

* Rhys's Jlid. Lects. 441, 481. « Hygin. Fob. 169. 

• Mi^, des SymboieSf 304, 316. * Wharton's Eiyma Latina. 

Digitized by 


1^ The Night of the Goas. [Axis 

} ' 

me that we must not here wilfully shut our eyes to the obvious 
BdK'Xo^, nor to the fact that Bactria holds the same relation to 
fid/erpov and fia/crrjpia (staff of office, prop) that Doria does to 
Sopv shaft. We thus unfold an important connection between the 
great, the supreme, god Bacchus and the stability of the axis-Shaft, 
in which he accords with Ptah and the tat 

** Odinn died in his bed in Sweden," says the Inglinga saga, 
" and when he was near his death he made himself be marked with 
the point of a spear, and said he was going to Godheim." 

[The twelve ^odes or diar or drotnar of Odinn were obviously cognate to our 
gvdf as the name of a deity. They (or the priests who represented them) 
directed sacrifices and judged the people, and all the people served and 
obeyed them.] 

** Niord died on the bed of sickness, and before he died made 
himself be marked for Odinn with the spear-point."* 

There is a useful illustration of Athenaia and Poseidon (from a vase in the 
Biblioth^que Nationale) given in Harrison and VerralPs manual on the 
Mythology and Mdhuments of Ancient Athens.* The spear and trident are 
there unmistakeably important 

The Finnish Hephaistos, Ilmarinen, forges for his brother 
Wainamoinen, in the 46th rune of the Ka/eva/a, a spear of 
wondrous beauty out of magic metals, and a triple pointed lancet 
with a copper handle, for fighting the great bear Otso of the North- 
land* This is a clear trident 

It would however be satisfactory if, while upon this subject, 
the trident of Neptune could in any sufficient way be accounted for 
as being connected with that of Assur and that of Saturn, and 
therefore, as I venture to maintain, with the Polar deity. The most 
ancient Cretan coins show the Phoenician god T4n (translated 
Poseidon by Philo of Byblos) with a fish-tail, that is as a fish-god, 
and holding a Neptune s trident The name of this god is found, 
too, in composition in the Cretan Itanos, from i-t&n, isle of T&n. 
Now Tin was son of Y4m, son of Ba'al, son of II (or Kronos).* 
Did the trident thus descend from Kronos or Saturn to the sea- 
god Poseidon or Neptune ? That Kronos was prominent in the 
worship of Crete is abundantly clear from the fact of human 
sacrifices having been there, as in Rhodes, offered to him.* 

^ ffeimskringla (Laing and Anderson) 1889, i, pp. 281, 282, 267, 270. 
^ Macmillan, 1890, p. xxviL 

* Crawford's Kalevala, pp. 661, 662. 

* F. Lenonnant : Orig, de tHisU ii, 544, 545. 

* Porphyry: De Absi, ii, 197, 202. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Trident, 77 

Again, in the Satapatha-brdhmana a fish appears to Manu, is adored by 
him, and tows Manu's ship during the deluge over the Mountain of the North, 
Manu came down as the waters receded, and that is what is called the descent 
of Manu on the Mountain of the North.' This fish-god becomes Brihmi in 
the Mahibhdrata, and Vishnu in the Purdnas (Matsyavatara). 
But in the Chaldean account of the deluge, the fish's part is 
taken by the god £)a (also qualified as Shalman, that is Saver) who 
is essentially the Assyrio-Babylonian icthyomorphic god.* Now, 
that £a and Kronos are parallels admits of little doubt,* for the 
Greeks translated £a by Kronos, as they did Bel by Zeus. And 
not alone is fea spoken of on the Chaldean tablets as the *' Lord 
with the clear-seeing Eye," but also as "the motionless Lord"* 
— ^which seem to me to be epithets peculiar to the polar divinity. 

Furthermore, fea is the male of one of the primitive pairs that issue from 
the primordial humidity which affords the farthest-back connection possible in 
mythological time with an Ocean parentage and habitat. 

It is not likely now that anything can ever be safely based upon the lost 
Black Stone of Susa, but that clearly, in General Monteith's drawing,* 
exhibits a trident in a prominent position. 

Poseiddn says in the Iliad (xv) : three brethren are we and sons of Kronos, 
whom Rhea bare : Zeus and myself, and Hades is the third, the ruler of the 
folk in the underworld. [This seems to give Poseidon the earth ; Zeus keeping 
the heavens.] 

Poseid6n in the Orphic hymn to Equity is called the marine Zeus : 
ir($»Tio£ f 2miX€0£ Zcvff ; and in the explanation of his trident given by Olympiodorus 
(on the Gorgias), Zeus is called celestial, Plout6n terrestrial, and Poseid6n of a 
nature between these. This in fact gives us what Produs (in TheoL Plat^ 367) 
also says upon the subject Zeus holds a sceptre because of his ruling judicia 1 
powers ; and Poseid6n has a trident because of his middle situation.^ If this 
means anything at all it must mean that he is the middle prong of the trident 
representing a three-fold Zeus, a triad of supreme gods, and that that is why 
he holds the emblem. 

Homer (//. xiv) makes Hera say to Aphrodite : " I am going 
to the limits of the earth, and Okeanos father of the gods, and 
mother T^thys who reared me duly and nurtured me in their halls, 
when far-seeing Zeus imprisoned Kronos beneath the earth and 
the unvintaged sea," Here are recognitions of the springing 
even of the gods from moisture, and of the infernal position of the 
fallen Kronos. 

Munter* recognised a relation between Poseid6n and 6genos, 

* Prof. Max Miiller : Ski, Lit, p. 425. Muir : Ski, Texts, ii, 324. 
» Orig. de VHist. i, 422 ; 387, 564 ; 505, 393. 

* Walpole*s Tnwels in Turkey, ii, 426. 

* Taylor's Pans, iii, 254, 268, 269 (notes). * Relig, der Korthager, p. 57. 

Digitized by 


73 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

the archaic god-name (indicated by Suidas) from which Ckeanos 
seems to have come. Poseiddn, says K. O. Miiller, seems clearly 
connected with pontos pontios potos potamos, used for sea rivers 
and waters generally. The radical weakness of all the theories of 
Neptunus (Poseidon) and his trident seems to lie in the total 
Ignoring in this connection of the Universe-ocean, and the limiting 
of the mythologist's purview to some earthly pond like the 
MediTerranean sea. 

The horses of Poseidon cannot be disconnected from the legend 
in the Iliad (xxiii, 346) of his changing into a horse, while Demeter 
became a mare. In those forms they begat the horse Aridn. 
Poseidon's position as a supreme central deity of the first rank is 
here evident in his being mated with Demeter. 

Mr. Gladstone in his Homerology,^ points out that 
" Poseidon is the god who may specially be called the god of horses in 
Homer ; and the relation is one which it is quite idle to refer to the metaphorical 
relation between the foam of waves and the mane of the animal, or between the 
ship and his [the horse's] uses on land." 

This seems to me to be one more element in the proof of 
Poseidon's being originally a central supernal god, the deity of the 
Universe- ocean — not merely of terrestrial seas — ^the god of mois- 
ture, the ruler of Water, the earliest co-productor (with heat) of 
life, the deity of the Watery Sphere surrounding the Universe, 
which was borne along in the general revolution by the horses of 
Poseidon. Virgfil calls Neptunus " Satumius domitor maris " {jEn. 

If the word na/fdt, water, does indeed turn out to be of kin 
with Neptunus, as some German scholars theorise, it would be a 
help to my arguments, when the central idea of Ap4m-napllt is 
kept in mind. And again, if the Oldlrish triatA sea "helps to 
explain the Greek Triton, the Sanskrit trita, and the Zend thrita'** 
I think we must go a little farther and attach the whole of these, 
as well as the trident, to the central triad conception. 

Dr. Schrader says that Sanskrit nipit, niptar = i, grandson ; 2, son ; 3, 
descendant in general Avestan napdt = grandson. Vedic apim napit = off- 
spring of water, cannot = Neptunus, for napAt has nought to do with water ;" 
unless indeed (as I shall add) Neptunus = simply "son of" (god). Does 
-Unus in Nept-unus, Port-unus, and so on, mean simply One ? 

' Contemp, Rrj, xxvii, 811 (1876). 

* Dr. I. Taylor's Orig, of the Aryans^ p. 306 ; Ret, Thought and Life in India^ i, 346. 

* Jevons's Schrader's Prehist. Antiq, of Aryans (1890), pp. 374, 412 

Digitized by 


My^As.] The Trident. 79 

This ordinary term of apdm napdt appears as iptya (also son of the waters) 
in Trita Aptya* or Traitana, the Firegod, which gives some sort of a connection 
of napit with Neptunus through Trit6n. 

Th^b^ is called Tritdnian in the ArganautikSn (iv, 260). There 
is also the Tritdnian river of seven streams (iv, 269). When 
Ath6n6 sprang in bright armour from her father's head she wais 
washed at the waters of Tritdn (iv, 131 1). From a rock near the 
lake Tritdnis (iv, J444), when kicked by a giant, instantly gushes 
forth a spring (another Moses-miracle). Tritdn (iv, 1552) bestows 
the clod of earth which makes the island Kallistd (alias the Earth). 
Tritdn is here unmistakeably a water-god, and his name indicates 
the trident which Poseidon carries. 

And have not the place and functions of Poseidon at long last descended 
to the Eastern St Nicholas, many of whose churches replace the former 
sanctuaries of the Greek god ; the Greek sailors praying to the Saint in tempests 
or for a fair wind, just as their progenitors did to the sea-deity. 

Parme8tetor*8 Zend Avesfa^ i, Ixiiu 

Digitized by 


So The Night of the Gods. [A. 


7. — The Ao/)v and ""Afymj of Kronos. 

WITH Izanagi's spear when combined with the triple emblem 
must, I would further suggest, be classed also the Sopv and 
the "ApTTTf of Kronos. According to Hesiod, the weapon of 
Kronos was a scythe of astonishing size, made of a shining 
diamond ; and it was made for the god by his mother Tij the 
Earth. Sanchoniathon said that Kronos caused to be made a ipirrj 
and a Sopv of iron. It is welUcnown that the Greek word for 
diamond ahdfia^ really means adamant, that which is indestructible ; 
and such I suggest — and not diamond — maybe its real significance 
as the material of the weapon of Kronos. 

The first mention of dddfias is said to be in Hesiod* ; and then and thence- 
forward, in the sense of aii everlasting substance which was a trade secret with 
the gods, it remained confined to theological poetry. Of it were made the 
helmet of H6rakl6s,> the dpmf of Kronos,* the chains of Prometheus,* and the 
plough of Aifit^s.* There is no doubt that the term was applied to the 
natural magnet, although Pliny* gave the adamas an antimagnetic virtue. 
I do not desire to press too hard the other meaning, loadstone ; 
though it is tempting and (especially in connection with the iron, 
alBrfpo^y which Philo-Sanchoniathon reported as the material) would 
come to the support of the theory mentioned farther on as to 
natural magnets. It must be added that the original meaning 
of the Japanese word for the spear material, which is rendered 
" jewel," is also doubtful. 

The ipTTTf of Kronos, generally rendered scythe or sickle, 
whether in translations or in works of art representing the gojl, 
has often been presumed to have given the astronomical sign of 
the planet Saturn, 1^ . 

The apirrj is I think susceptible of another very archaic 
interpretation. Our harpoon comes from the same root, and the 
meaning of an agricultural instrument may be comparatively 
modem : it would not suit a nomad people for example. This line 
of thought might give us something resembling the trident which 
is found as the emblem of Saturn on Roman medals, and thus the 
epithet sharp-toothed Kapxctpiihov^^ which describes the object in 

> SctUum Here, lyj. > Id. Theogon, i6l, i88. « ^schylus, Prom, 6 

* Pindar, lyth, iv, 397 ; Argonaut, iii, 1285, 1325. » Hist, Nat, xxxvii, 61. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Aopv and ^pirq of Kronos. 8i 

Hesiod, would present no difficulty. What I suggest is that the 
cifyirq must have been the head of the hopv or spear, and that the 
triple point of the head would thus connect it with the " fleur-de- 
Lis," the emblem of the triad, at the Northern point of the Universe- 

Pausanias (vii, 23) gives us the scythe or sickle idea in the legend about 
Kronos throwing the instrument with which he mutilated Ouranos into the 
sea from a promontory named Drepanon near the mouth , of the river 
Bolinaios. But this legend seems to contain a mere nominis umbra. 

The ithyphallic statues of gardens had a wooden scythe or reapinghook 
which Columella joked at as a scarethief— " praedoni falce minetur."* It is 
also mentioned in the Priapeiuy xxix — " falce minax ; " and there was also a 
long overtopping pole behind the figure, which was used to hang a scare- 
crow on, apparently ; for Horace says : 

Ast importunas volucres in vertice arundo 
Terret fixa {Sat viii, 6). 

Hermfis beheaded Argos with a harp^, which is shown as a 
sickle on a gem of green jasper.* According to one account, 
Hermes first put Argos to sleep with the sound of his flute, and 
then cut off his head with the harp^ f by another report he simply 
killed him with a blow of a stone. Hermes also gave i crseus an 
adamantine harp^ to kill Medousa.* 

Dr. O. Schrader equates the "sickle-shaped knife" for cutting com, 
Spin;, with the Old-Slavonic sriipu ; and Mr. Wharton adds Old- Latin sarpo 
to prune, and OHGsarf sharp. 

Apollodorus preserved a myth which makes the serpent Typhon 
despoil Zeus of his thunder, and also of the harp^ which had been 
before him the weapon of his father Kronos* ; another myth makes 
Zeus fight and lop Typhon with the harp^. The Thracian 
gladiators used a harp^ in the public games. 

* The hdpv spear or dart is constant in the myth of Prokris and 
Kephalos (to which we must not turn aside), and the custom of 
planting a spear in the grave at a funeral {iirev&fKetv Bopv) is even 
connected with this myth. " Some say that it was EreChtheus 
who made the spear be driven into the grave."* But we can 
afford a smile at these conjectures, when we find the similar 
custom, with poles, among the Tartars (see Index). 

The Thracians, wrote Clemens Alexandrinus', first invented 
what is called a &pirr) — it is a curved sword. 

' De cultu hortorum, x. * Tassie-Raspe, Catalogue of gems ^ 1182. 

' Ovid, Met, i, 671, 721. * ApoU. Bibl, ii, 3, 2 ; ii, 4, 2, 8. 

» BibL i, 6, 3, 8. 
• Istros, Frag, 19 (Didot i, 420). ' Stromata^ i, ch. 16. 


Digitized by 


^2 The Night of the Gods, \Avis 

Here are given illustrations of : 

"The mutilation harp^ of Kronos or of Saturn," from 
Winckelmann, Pierres gravies de Stosch^ p. 24, No. 5 ; 
Schlichtegroll, ibid, xv. 

" The harp^ of an antique form (ensis falcatus) and the globe ; " from 
^^ an Etruscan scarabeus. Tassie, Catalogue^ pi. xiv, No. 758 : BSttiger, 
U Kunstmythologiey i, tab. i, 4. This is the sign of the planet Saturn ? 
Harp6 in a bas-relief of the quondam Mus^e royale ff^^ 

of Paris. Millin, Monum, Antiq, inedit, i, pL 23, It IJ I 

looks somewhat like the Egyptian reaping-hook, the ^^ J 

ma 5^, which we now know (thanks to Mr. Flinders ' ^"'^"^ 

Petrie) to have been originally a sickle made of the jawbone of an animal, 
with the teeth left in. 

One of the leading myths which we have not hitherto been able 
to explain to ourselves is the sowing of the serpent's teeth by 
Kadmos son of AgEnor. Apollonios of Rhodes said^ that there- 
after he " founded a race of earthborn r^air)^€vd^ men from the 
remnant left after the harvesting of Ar^s' spear ; "* which is not 
self-explanatory. Can it refer to teeth having been archaically 
used for spearheads (for we are certain that they were used in these 
Egyptian reaping-hooks); and also to the flint weapon-points being 
found everywhere as if sown broadcast ? And would this throw 
any new light on Samson's (reaping T) exploit with the " new jaw- 
bone-of-an-ass ? "* (Compare the beaks, claws and horns, p. 91.) 

On correcting the proof of the foregoing sentence, I find in 
Seyffert's Mythological Dictionary* that ** the invention of the saw, 
which he copied from the chinbone of a snake," is ascribed to 
Talds, the nephew of DaiDalos. Now when Kadmos, helped by 
KUcAn&O^Ka^ killed the monstrous python-serpent of Ar^s — for 
this drak6n was depicted as a great boa in ancient art — either the 
goddess or he (by her advice) sowed its teeth,* which produced the 
armed Theban giants called Spartoi, whose name was brought, by 
what I suggest was a punning shot, from (nrelpm, sow. 

The root is sfiary but another view may be held, that the real origin of 
Spartoi, and also of airdpros esparto-grass, still exists in the obvious English 

* Argon, iii, 1 187. 

* Mr. E. P. Coleridge's version, p. 138. * Judges xv, 15. 

* English ed. (1891) by Nettlcship and Sandys, p. 171. (No authority cited.) 
' Eurip. Phoin, 667, 670 ; Apoll. Bibl. iii, 4, 1,4. 

Digitized by 


Myihs.'] The Aopv and "kpm) of Kronos, 83 

words spar (a bar, pole, yard), spear, spur, " Aryan " sfiara a dart Nor does 
the original sense of trirtipto, (nraipo>, to beget, to shake, seem to have been 
merely the scattering of vegetable seeds with the hand. The words may have 
existed before agriciilt{rre was dreamt of 

The idea I throw out is that what were fabled to have been 
sown were the flint weapons, the dartheads and spearheads, that 
were found in the soil as if they had been sown broadcast. 
Arma antiqua manus ungues dentesque fuerunt, 
et lapides et item silvarum fragmina rami. 

(Lucretius v, 1282.) 
(This, in one aspect, is a doublet of Deukalion and Pyrrha's creation 
of mankind by throwing stones.) The next step in my theory is that 
these flints were mixed up with those put into jawbone-sickles 
(and saws) to replace the natural teeth, and that something like 
this is the rationale of the myth. And we must not forget that 
Dem^ter, as the universal mother, irivrcav Mrrip^ irafifniriop,* 
Trafifi^qreipa,* produced the first men, 'xap^avyeveU avdpomot} 

The sowing of the Roman Campus Martius by Tarquinius Superbus (the 
High Turner of the heavens) is an obvious mythic doublet of this story of 

If there be anything in this speculating, then we may perhaps 
flash another light on the above " harvesting " in the Argonauti- 
ka, A legend of Corcyra (see p. 33) anciently Drepan^, related 
by Aristotle, said that D^m^t^r there taught the Titans to harvest 
with a Spejrdvff or sickle that she had begged of Poseiddn, which 
drepan^ she then buried, and so gave its name to the island. 

In the following century however, Timaios* (260 B.C) said that the name 
came from the drepan^ with which Kronos maimed Ouranos, or Zeus cut 

A similar story was told of Cape Drepanon in Sicily ; and we 
here may clearly have what was wanting, the putting into the 
ground of the teeth or flint-teeth in the jaw-sickle. The drepan^, 
plucker, from Bphro) pluck, must have been a very primitive article, 
its name belonging to a previous hand-plucking of the ears. 

If we are to see a celestial meaning in the Titan's harvest, it was perhaps a 
doublet of the shearing or skinning idea, of the golden fleece, and was thus a 
figure for the golden grain of the starry heavens. 

I must not omit to note that the helper of Kadmos was pro- 
bably not Ath^n^ at all, but some local goddess who became 
absorbed in Ath^n^ ; for the name ''07/ca is the obvious feminine 

* Hesiod Op. et D, 565. * ^sch. Prom, 90. ■ Homer Hymn xxxiii, i. 

* Hesiod Thcog. 879 ; Homer Hymn in Cer, 352. 
' ^rag' 54 (in Didot, i, 203). 

F 2 

Digitized by 


84 The Night of the Gods, [Axis 

of "07/^09, who was similarly made a son of Apollo. Now one 
sense of 07^09 was a barb — modern Greek o/^kclOl thorn (compare 
aKav6a\ ar/Kiarpv hook. We still say " toothed " for barbed, w hich 
in modern Greek is oSoi/Taro?. 

There still survive such strange human weapons that I think it may be 
said that he who would identify the ^pTny with a sickle, and a sickle only, 
must be a bold man indeed. Mr. Consul F. S. A. Bourne^ describes one 
weapon as being very common all over the Yunnan province : It is a rod of 
iron about 3 feet long, with a sword-handle at one end, and at the other a 
bar at right angles to the rod about 5 inches long, pointed, and sharpened on 
the inner edge. Asked what it was for and how used, one man replied : 
for men or wild beasts ; it would give a stab by striking or a cut by pulling 
This weapon is called kou-lien (hook). 

The thyrsus of Bacchus was frequently considered as hiding a 
spear-head under its foliage.* A bas-relief in the Vatican shows 
the point coming through, and the correct term seems then to 
have been OvpaoKoyxo^ (Diod. Sic. iv, 4). This blade became a 
lanceolate leaf. Note (see p. 92) the connexion here between 
Ba«-j^o9 and jSax-Tpov, 

Professor Tiele duly rejects the "crescent" interpretation of 
the weapon of Kronos, though Arjuna uses a crescent-tipped 
arrow in killing Kama ; and it is scarcely necessary to allude to 
the theories which make the harp^ either the rainbow or the Milky 
Way. It has also been rendered scimitar, which would bring us 
round to the supreme god of the ancient Scythians, Tivus, the 
Brilliant, the Heavens, who was also, like the supreme deity of 
the Jews, their god-of-battles, and was represented by a dart or a 
lance fixed on the mound of assembly and sacrifice,' whence Tivus 
had also the names of Dart (Scyth., Kaizus ; Goth., GaTsus*) and 
Lance (Kaztus and Gazds). Herodotus (iv, 62) however made 
the Scythian god's emblem a very ancient sword-blade, which was 
actually worshipped ; and this opens out a wide field for com- 
parisons with the divine swords of Japan. 

Apart from the well-worn old Western cliche about the turning 
of the sword into the ploughshare, we have the mythic sword of the 
god Susa no Wo the Impetuous-Male of Japan, which sword is 
called the grass-cutter (kusanagi no tsurugi or tachi), and in it we 
must see the sickle into which the divine harp6 also dwindles. It 

> Journey in S. W, China, Parly. Paper C. 5371 (1888) p. 9. 
' Macrob. Sat. i, 19 ; Diod. Sic. iii, 65 ; Lucian, Bacch, 3. 

* Bergmann's Cylfa Ginning^ p. 270. 

* See also Mr. Wharton's Etyma Latina, s.v. gaesum 

Digitized by 


AfyiAs.] The Aopv and ''kpwr\ of Kronos, 85 

reappears as the heavenly sword sent down to Yamato-Take, and 
is one of the three treasures (with the mirror and the stone) of the 
regalia of Japan. 

The Fii-e deity in Japan has for one of his names the Kagu-hammer of Fire, 
Hi no Kagu-tsuchi (as to which see Index) ; he was the son of Izanagi and 
Izanamiy and his father cut off his head with a ten-handed sword (to-tsuka 
tsurugi) which was called both the Wohabari of the heavens and the strong or 
sacred Wohabari (Ame no Wohabari and Itsu no Wohabari). Wo-ha-bari is 
dimly explained as Point-blade-extended,* which would suit the Axis-spear. 
This sword is deified afterwards as a Kami who dwells in the Rock- Palace (ihaya) 
by the source of the heavens-river.* He also blocks up and turns back the 
heavens-river, and blocks up the road to his abode, so that no other god can 
get to him. Here is a reminder of the Flaming Sword of the Hebrews. 

The Egyptian royal blade called ;3^epesh | was compared 
by Champollion to the harp^. The word ;3^epesh also means 
the ox's foreleg, shoulder, /^i::^, of which it is said to have the form 
(though this is not explained). It is royal, and thus perhaps an 
executioner's as well as a sacrificial knife. The god Mentu holds 
it (as war-god ?). According to the ancient Amhurst Papyrus " the 
august mummy of the king " (in a record of the opening of a 
royal tomb) was " found near the divine ;^epesh." This ;3^epesh 
knife (or leg-of-beef) is also mentioned in the funereal rituals as a 
northern constellation ; and the leg-of-beef /'^a " has given its 
name to the constellation of the Great Bear " says Pierret.* There 
may thus not be much danger in suggesting that this hieroglyph 
AC:^ may have originally meant the Great Bear, the form of which 
it resembles. Have we not here too a supreme connexion with 
that most widespread custom of divination by the sacred sacrificial 
shoulder-blade-bone ? We have 

• ^ X^p, thigh. ®j^ ^^^ X^pesh, shoulder (fore-thigh). 

y 2 ma, shoulder. 'yfL ma, to immolate. 

^ ;^epesh, Ursa Major. 
^ and Vb^ xepesh, royal blade. 

^^^0 ^^^ ;^pesh, power, strength. 

The Berosus account of the production of Heavens and Earth is old and 
strange, but quite on the lines of the theories I here advance ; and it was con- 
firmed by one of the Chaldean tablets discovered by the late Mr. George Smith. 
The demi-urgos B^los or Bel-Maruduk struggles with the goddess Tiamat, one of 
the personifications of primordial humidity, darkness, and mist, and cuts her in 
* Kojikiy pp. 34, 31, 29. * Ibid, lOO. • Diet, p. i6S; Vocab, p. 237. 

Digitized by 


86 The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

two ; making of the lower half the Earth, and of the upper the Heavens. The 
tablet says "he made also the scimitar (sapara) to pierce the. body of 
Tiamat," and " the Lord also drew his scimitar, he struck her ; he brought to 
the front the cutting weapon ; he broke her stomach, her inside he cut, he split 
her heart"* This has a strong resemblance to the weapon of Kronos, and also 
to the Egg and the egg-opening ideas. 

The Scythian dart or lance, too, at once recalls the magic lance 
of Alexander at p. 36 ; and according to the guide-book of Pau- 
sanias (i, i & 2) an Athenian statue of Poseid6n represented him 
hurling a spear dX the giant PoluBotfis. In the temple of Ath^n6 
at the Piraeus too, he adds, the statue of the goddess held a spear 
(as did the Trojan Palladium). 

The Chair6n^ans, further wrote Pausanias (ix, 40), venerate 
above all the gods the sceptre which Homer {Iliads ii) says 
Hephaistos made for Zeus^ This sceptre Hermes received from 
Zeus and gave to Pelops, Pelops left it to Atreus, Atreus to 
Thyestes, and from Thyestes it came to Agamemnon. This 
sceptre, too, they call The Spear (iopv) ; and indeed that it contains 
something of a nature more divine than usual is evident from 
hence, that a certain splendour is seen proceeding from it The 
Chalr6neans say that this sceptre was found in the borders of the 
Panopeans (Ilai;, Ops?) in Phocis. There is not any temple 
publicly raised for this sceptre ; but every year the person to whose 
care this sacred sceptre is committed, places it in a building destined 
to this purpose ; and the people sacrifice to it every day, and place 
near it a table full of all kinds of flesh and sweetmeats. 

There js a passage in Justinus (xliii, 3) which clearly refers to 
this. At the origin of things, he says, the men of old adored lances 
as imqaortal gods ; in mepory of which worship, lances are added 
to the statues of the gods to this day. TAb origine rerum, pro 
diis immortalibus veteres hastas coluere ; cujus religionis ob 
memoriam adhuc deorum simulacris hastae adduntur.) 

The horse-god Aswatth^man, son of Dr6na the son of Bharad- 
wftja, threatened Phalguna (Arjuna) with the spear of Brahm^ ; 
but Phalguna "opposed the spear of Brahm^ to the spear of 
Brdhma."' This spear of the son of Dr6na is pointed with red-hot 
iron and directed against Uttard (goddess of the North ?) ; it seems 
to become five spears ; but Bhagavat opposes to it his own spear 

' F. Lenormant*s Ori^. de VHist. i, 124, 506, 508, 511, 512. 
» Bhdg.-purdna, i, 7, 29 ; 8, 8, &c. ; 8, 24 ; 12, I ; 15, 12. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The /iopv and \pw7i of Kronos, ^7 

(which is also the name of the chakra of Krishna, which is also called Vajra- 
Ndbha = the Navel-Vajra ; the vajra being a circular weapon with a central 
hole. It was given to Krishna by Agni). 

The spear of Brahm^ is called Brahmasiras, and is appeased on en- 
countering the splendour of Vishnu (Bhagavat). Hari is praised for 
saving from the spear of the son of Drdna. The burning spear 
Brahmasiras, thrown by Asvvatth^man, burns and kills the child 
Parikshit that Uttar^ was bearing in her womb, but the child was 
recalled to life by Bhagavat (Krishna).^ Siva (or Indra) gave his 
spear to SOta, " the charioteer " (Kama), in exchange for his divine 
cuirass. But all this conception of the spear (while in the divine 
names used a connection with the North and the heavens-omphalos 
are made certain) dovetails inseparably into those of the divine 
chakra-weapon, and the trident ; as is excellently illustrated in the 
last passage here taken from the Bhdgavata : 

Like one who wants to cast a curse at a Brahman, Hiranyiksha [golden-eye, 
the chief of the Diityas ; demon-giants who are scarcely to be distinguished 
from the Dinavas] seized his spear armed with three points, resplendent, 
insatiable as fire, and directed it against Yajna [sacrifice, who had taken a 
visible form ; victim ?] This weapon, launched with vigour by the great hero of 
the Ddityas, and shining in the mid-heavens with a splendour that was immense, 
the god severed with the keen edge of hi§ Chakra (iii, 19, 13). 

The Phoenician heavens-god Baal-sh4mayim by ll; Osiris by Typhon 
(Tebh ?); Typhon and Set by Horus ; Ouranos by Kronos ; Kronos and Typhon 
by Zeus ; Dionusos by the two other Kabeiroi ;« Adonis and Odin by boars ; 
Attis and Odin and £shm(in and Ra" by themselves or others ; the Herm- 
Aphroditean daemon Agdistis by all the gods,* were each and all similarly 
mutilated. The disablement was common towards captives in all ages, and was 
probably enforced against the older males by the younger in the days of 
pristine innocence. The usual mystic explanation of this typical mutilation of 
the god now current is the fall of the year, the winter fall of the sun. But 
another is easily possible. 

The Samoan heavens at first fell down and lay upon the Earth until the 
arrowroot and another plant, or the god Ti-iti-i, pushed the heavens up.* The 
Mangaian sky was in a similar position until the sky-supporting god Ru set to 
work.* In New Zealand, says Mr. Lang,^ the heavens and earth were regarded 
as a real pair, Rangi and Papa, of bodily parts and passions, united in a secular 
embrace. Dr. Wallis Budge here suggests to me the apposite and happy 

' Bhdg.-pur&nay i, i8, i ; iii, 3, 17. ' Clem, of Alex. 

* Perenihruy ch. 17. Th. Deveria : Cat, des MSS. 42. 

* Pausanias, vii, 18. There is a curious parallel to the myth of Attis and his bride 
in a Japanese myth of Amaterasu and Susanowo (Chamberlain's Kojiki^ p. 54) which 
would bear investigation. ' Turner's Samoa^ p. 198. 

* Giirs Myths and Songs, p. 59. ^ Myth, RU, and Rel, i, 253, 302. 

Digitized by 


^S The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

parallel of " the Egyptian idea that the (feminine) heavens came down and lay 
upon the Earth all night until Shu (the sunlight ?) lifted her up each morning. 
Sky was Nut ; Earth, Seb." [The incorrigible gardener^s connexion of the 
moon with the sowing of seeds comes in here too.] The Heavens and Earth 
are in the Veda, says Dr. Muir, constantly styled the parents not only of men 
b\it of the gods. Mr. Lang applies the same explanation to Kronos and Gaia ; 
and cites the Maori's god Tane-Mahuta sundering the heavens and the earth 
by cruelly severing the sinews that united them. Thiis view of the mutilation 
of Kronos fits in admirably with the phallic view of the pillar that represents 
the Axis which joins heavens and earth ; and the mutilation of the heavens-god 
would then be " another account " of the separation of heavens and earth ; 
both accounts being fused into on? perfect account in the Maori myth and also 
in Hesiod {Theog, 175-185) where Ouranos approaches Gaiayh7i« a distance^ 
and Kronos then commits the mutilation. This seems to me to be of first-rate 
importance in expounding these myths ; and I owe the idea to Mr. Lang, who, 
however, does not carry it into the axis-myths. The myth of Attis and Kubcl^ 
would then be only a variant, and the eunuch-priests of the Earth-.goddess 
would explain themselves. 

See also p. 38 ante^ to which the following addition may here be made. 
The Earth was adored in China, says De Groot', under the name of Ti KH 
Jfe jjl^t for which he selects the equivalent Earth-goddess, because JP^ after a 
proper name is a female determinative. Another name for the Earth was Heou 
T'ou ^ j^ Empress-Earth. In combination with the heavens-deity, the ex- 
pression " Emperor-heavens and Empress-Earth," was used, ^ 5^ ^ i* 

Fitcs cTEmouiy i, 147. 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] Divine Names in Harp- and Dor-. ^9 

8. — Divine Names in Harp- and Dor-. 

jr jr ARPA was the spouse of Kleinis, who sacrificed asses in the temple 
I I of Apollo among the Hyperboreans (that is at the farthest north, the 
-^ -^ pole). This Apollo forbad— showing how ancient the accusations 
about ass- worship are — but two of the children of Kleinis continued the 
sacrifices, while two others — Ortugios and Art^mich^ or -cha — became converts. 
Apollo raged, and father and children were (all equity has been muddled out of 
the myth) changed into birds ; Ortugios not into an ortux or quail as one would 
have expected (which supports the derivation of Ortygia as a name of D^los 
which has been given on p. 32, above) but into an aigithalos (titmouse) a bird 
hostile to Bees, and Art^michd into a piphinx (lark). [Note that these bird- 
names were foreign to Greece, and that the nymph Kl^is and her sisters 
brought up Bacchus in Naxos, and that KleXa was a daughter of Atlas ; 
also that kleidomantia was divination by a key or keys. Can all such names, 
and the terminal syllable of so many god-names, -icXi;?, have to do with key 
in the sense of the key of the arch {kKt)U^ bar, key; Old- Irish clui nails; 
English slot bplt) ? I return to this in the section on " The Arcana."] 
Harpasos was another son of Kleinis. 

Harpagos (or is it Har-pagos ?) was a horse of the Djoscures, 
Harpali (or Har-pal6 ?) and Harpiaia (?) were a dog and bitch of Aktai6n's. 
Harpalukos and Harpaluki must be a pair. The first taught H^raKl^s, 
so that he was an ancient of the ancients. Of Pelasgos and Meliboia (the 
heavens Bee-goddess ? — daughter of 6keanos), or else of Pelasgos and the 
nymph Kull^n6, was bom Luka6n, king of the Arcadians, who had by many 
wives fifty boys that in pride and impiety surpassed all mortals. Among them 
were Pal Las, Harpaleus, Harpalukos, Titanas, Kleitor, and Orchomenos.» 
One myth makes Harpalukos father of Harpaluki, who lived on mare's milk 
and was an amazon. She was otherwise the most beauteous daughter of 
Klumenos, king of Argos the heavens, or of Arkadia the polar heavens. 
Pherecydes* said Klumenos was one of the numerous sons of H^raK16s and 
Megara. He was thus one of the Idaian H^raklid^s. Apollodoros' made 
Klumenos son of Oineus (kmg of Kalud6n) and Althaia (daughter of Thestios). 
Other genealogies are numerous. He was king of Orchomenos and son of 
Presbon (;.^., The Old One), and was killed by a Theban with a stone ; or the 
son of Phor6neus ( = the hidden ?), father of mortals, and Chthonia (daughter of 
Kolontas, or by other accounts the sister of Klumenos). He was also king of 
Elis, driven therefrom by Endymi6n. Or again, Klumenos was the son of 
Helios and father of Phaith6n by Merop^ (or Phaith6n was the son of Helios 
by KlumenS the wife of Merops). Klumenos was also a companion of Phineus 
and killed by Odit^s (a centaur) at the wedding of Perseus. These must all be 
differing accounts of the same divine personage, and the genealogical inex- 
tricability is typical of his eariiness. It gives me great satisfaction to be 

* Apoll. Bibl ii, i, 7 ; iii, 8, i, « Frag, ii, 30. * BibL i, 8. 

Digitized by 


90 The Night of the Gods. [Axi 


here able to quote F. Lenormant's endorsement of both K. O. MiiUer and 
Preller : "II ne faut pas, comme Pont tr^s bien vu Ottfried M tiller et Preller, 
attacher plus d'importance qu'elles ne mdritent k ces variations de genealogies." 
(He is dealing with ErusiChth6n's parentage.)* Plout6n was also called 
Klumenos ; but Pausailias (ii, 35, 3 to 7) described a field of Klumenos as 
well as a field of Plout6n behind the temple of D6m^t6r at Hermion^ of the 
Apvcwrey. F. Lenormant* interpreted icXv/icvo; as "heard not seen" (which 
would be The Word, the wind?). The divine names in kKv- badly want a 

Harpaluki (who was espoused to Alastdr)' was possessed by Klumenos her 
father, but she killed her son (also her brother) and served him up to her (and 
his) father in a Pelops, sacrificial-cannibalism, myth. Or again, she was the 
daughter of (the heavens-) Law-bearer Luko-urgos (Lycurgus). She became a 
bird. There was a girPs song called harpaluki which was perhaps comparable 
to the men's song harmodios mentioned elsewhere. 

Harpaleus — see Harpalukos. 

Harpalion (or Har-palion ?) son of Pulaim6n^s l^ing pf the Paphlagonians 
(compare Paphos). 

Harpi^ one of the amazons who helped Ai^t^s king of Colchis. 

harps {ip'Trrj) the weapon of Kronois, Hermes, and Perseus ; the 
sword curved at an obti|se angle of the Thracjan gladiators. 
Hermes was called harp^dophoros. Also a kite or faleo gentilis. 

harpax (dprra^) drawing to itself, a thief ; but 

harpacticon^ sulphur (Pliny xxxy, 25, 50) poss^s^d the virtue of drawing 
things to itself. 

Hat pis was one of the Cyclops (sons of Ouranos and Gd, or of Kollos and 

Harpinna^ daughter of Asdpos and spouse of Ar6s. 

Harpies (^kpirviai^ Harpyiae). Hag-visaged vulture-bodied 
monsters with hooked beak and claws and pendant dugs. (See 
more of them under the head of " Divine Birds.") Harrison and 
Verrall's Aftcient Atfiens (p. Ixxx) says : 

" they are called Arepuiai in early art ;" but may there not here have 
been some confusion with the feather-shooting birds of Ar^s in the Argonautika 
(ii, 1033, 1083) ? Apollodoros** made the two Harpuiai begotten by Thaumas 
(son of Pontos and G6) out of felektra. He also named them Aell6 (storm ?) 

* Saglio*s Diet, i, 1039. 

' Art on Ceres, in Saglio's Diet, i, 1025. 

* Mr. E. K. Wharton gives " dXaoro)/) avenger, accursed : 0X17 *dXdfa>, ' making or 
made to wander * " {Etyma Graca), The Alastdr^ were inimical genii. We seem to 
have here a straight parallel to the Avestan notion of the evil-working pairikas, the 
wandering planets. Alast6r would thus be a Vagabond (planet). He was also a horse- 
god (of Plout6n's). His brothers, by Neleus out of Chloris, were Asterios, Radios, the 
protean V^nKiumenos, and eight more (a Twelve in all) with a sister n^pw, who has a 
strange resemblance to perinpairika. 

* Bibi, i, 2, 6 ; i, 9, 21. 

Digitized by 


Myths, ^ Divine Names in Harp- and Dor-, 91 

and 6kupet6 (swift-flight), alias 6kutho^ (swift-swift) or, according to Hesiod, 
6kupod^ (swift-ft)oted). 

The connexion between the artificial weapon harp^ and the 
natural weapons of the prey-birds is what strikes me most in these 
words. We have it in the totally independent myths of the Harpies 
and of Harpa, Harpasos. The identical same thing in another 
form of words is seen in the close connexion and confusion of 
Picus the pike-god with picus the pie-bird. Is the conclusion to 
be that the beaks and claws of birds were some of the first, as the 
most ready, of the spear-points used by primaeval men ? (See 
also what is said a little lower down as to the horn of the So/>f 
tipping the hopv spear, and as to teeth on Pr 82.) 

The flight of the Harpies and their swooping and snatching of 
their food, and their defouling habits as they fly, must be taken 
from the great predaceous night fruit-bats ; as anyone who has 
lived among these last may testify. The chasing of the Harpies by 
the prodromoi (the preci|V6ors qf day ?) also proveg them night- 
hags. The bird-vampire idea of the Striges among the Romans^ 
may have had a similar origin (strix screechowl ; striga witch). 

[Harpocrat^s or Harpocras is omitted, being a Greek misconception of 
Egyptian mythplpgy,] 

iopv. Let us first take hovpq,^^ Bopc^^^ Sopu, 4 spear, lance, 
pole, bean), timber ; and (Sovpov) Sovpa^ timber, poles, spears. 
Here is c^ resen^blance tp the Latin axis, which pie^nt plank as well 
as axle. It is worth noting that SopmaXTo?, a brandishing of the 
spear, is ^ duplication containing both Sopv and ttoX and thus 
showing — what is in fact evident — that these two terms for the 
spear came from different languages or tribes. Aopv is matched 
by the Avestan d^ura which meant timber also (see " The Gods 
of the Druids "). 

^^pi ^ gazelle, antelope, wildrgoat, would be so-called from the horns, 
which may also have tipped the spear. This word also appears as ^opitrj d6pK0£ 
d6pKav and ^6pKas (Latin dorca and dorcas) which last gives 

AopKOf (Hebrew, Tabitha) a woman's name. This we must connect with 
the worship of Ashtoreth and Artemis. Wild-goats were sacred to the Arab 
unmarried goddess at whose shrine women, whom the Arabs compare to ante- 
lopes, prostituted themselves J and the bovine antelope bohtha was in South Arabia 
connected with the worship of Athtar, the male counterpart of Ashtoreth. On 
Phoenician gems the gazelle is a symbol of Ashtoreth. There were golden gazcl 1 c s 

* Ovid, Fasf. vi, loi, etc. 

Digitized by 


9 2 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

at the Zem-Zem well of Mecca.* This explains why the prostitute's quarter 
was called, as in Rhodes, Keratohori, horaed-village ; and also the depositing 
o f horns (cornua) against the doors of the Roman meretrices as late as the 
15th and 1 6th centuries;* and further the whole grotesque symbolism in the 
laughing to scorn of the horn, the horn, the lusty hom,» which thus primarily 
luded to the wife, and only by a ricochet to the husband. [I am of course 
here abandoning the gladness of the soft black eye, and the derivation of h6p^ 
ic.r.X. from d<pica) to see ; Old- Irish derc eye, Sanskrit dar9 see.] 

AopKcvr was a dog of Aktaion's. Was it a deer-hound ? 

£^opK(vs was also a son of Hippoko6n, and named a fountain in Sparta. 

L6p^vov a phallic deity to whom, said Athenaeus (citing Plato's Phado\ 
women made offerings. 

Doris daughter of 6keanos, sister and wife of N^reus, and mother of the 
fifty Nereides or Dorides. (She was mother of Suma or Sume, mother of 

A<»/)4€tff, the Dorians, claimed descent from Dorus the son of Hell6n, son 
of Deukalion. The Three Eyes that were the guides of the Dorians, and the 
Triopon promontory, are notable. The Rhodians spoke Doric. There was the 
Dorian nox and the Dorian ignes. Note here the insuppressible relation of 
the Dorian tribe-name to the ^6pv shaft or spear, which closely belongs to the 
connexion (p, 84) of the Bactrians with fiuKvpov fidKnjpia a staff or prop. 

Dotion was a Danaid. 

Dorippi was mother of Spermo (query related to spear, spar a pole, spams) 
Ou/o (= vine ?) and Elais or Elaia (= olive-tree). The father of these three 
nymphs, who all changed to doves, was Anius king and high-priest of D^los. 
( Anius must be connected with the Semitic An, Anu ?) This myth is extremely 
like that of the Hesperid^s. 

Doriiidi was a name of the Gnidians for Aphrodite. 

Dorpda^ the first day, the feast-day, of the mysterious Apatouroi ; a com- 
mentary on which here would interrupt the connexion. 

dorsum or dorsus, the spine. This word is said by the etymologists to be 
related to dfipar, deip^, h^pr\ a mountain ridge ;* but surely h6pv is the next-of-kin? 
Mr. Wharton compares the Old- Irish druim with both dorsum back and ftci/j^ 
as neck* — the word that means neck ought to be a subordinate word to that 
which implies back (bone) and neck. 

DoriKliSy one of the numerous " heroes " in -kl^s. DoriKlos son of Priamos 
(Priam) was killed by Ajax. 

DoruKleus was the son of Hippoko6n, and both father and son were killed 
by H^raKl^s (ApolL BibL iii, 10, 5). 

Ao/}v-Xatoi/ the Phrygian place-name seems to be compounded 
of spear + stone, Xfi?. And so does the name which was perhaps 
its origin, that of 

* Prof. Robertson Smith. Kinship and Marriage, 194, 19s, 298. 

* Statuta urbis Ronicty etc 1558, lib. iv, cap. 23. 
» As You Like It, iv, 2. 

* Curtius i, 291 ; Fick i, 616— cited by Prof. Skeat. 

* Etyma Graca and Latina. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] Divine Names in Harp- and Dor-. 93 

DorU'las, the companion of Perseus and Peirithoos — the latter 
the son of Ixion, the king of the Lapithai, and the consort of 
Hippodamia. DoruLas was a centaur, killed by Theseus or by 
Alkuond (also changed to a bird). Compare DoruLas with Pal- 
Las, ante, 

dopv<f>6pos, the spear-bearer, was a famous statue by Polukl^t^s. 

Digitized by 


94 The Night of the Gods, [Axis 

9. — Natural Magnets ; Meteorites ; Beth-fels. 

71 JATURAL MAGNETS. The existence of the so-called 
/ y fleur-de-Lis on the northern point of the magnetic needle, as 
here explained, may point to a far-back time, long before that needle 
was thought of, when natural magnets of magnetic oxyde of iron — 
so common a mineral in Northern Europe — were sacrosanct sym- 
bols, holy stones, dedicated to the worship and instinct with the 
divinity of Tai-Ki, Tai-Yi, or Shang-Ti, the Great Supreme, the 
Great First, the Uppermost, the Polar centre of the Universe, 
during long ages before it dawned upon men to turn their mys- 
terious properties, all so gradually ascertained, to the traveller's and 
to the mariner's use. These magnets would have been first devoted 
to acts of worship, and to the definition of the sacrificial worshipping 
position ; and the periods of their deflections to west or to east may, 
it is scarcely fanciful to reflect, have boded calamities or the 
reverse, while their direct pointing to the Polar Star would have 
been of happiest augury. 

Let us adventure such a supposition as that the production of 
sound in a piece of iron when suddenly magnetised or demagnetised 
— which we have now for some time known to be a scientific fact — 
could have been demonstrated to the deeply reverent generations 
of far-back men who " invented beth-£ls, manufacturing animated 
stones." What an irrefragable confirmation it might have been to 
them of the faith that was in them. Add this to the fact that 
magnetism disappears at a high temperature (say in the sacrificial 
fire), and we should have— ^if we could permit ourselves to think it 
— not alone £l entering the b^th, the god entering the stone, 
but leaving it, and re-ascending into heaven, with the smoke and 
savour of the burnt offering. 

F. Lenormant identified the god El Gabal (whose name was 
taken by the frantic fanatic Heliogabalus, as high-priest of the sacred 
stone) with the old Chaldean god of cosmic fire, Gibil, who was 
also called the god of the black stone. The Semitic word gabal 
too means lofty, and is used in Aramean and Syrian place-names 
to imply heights.^ (See also p. 116). Here the central fire of the 

Reville, ReHg, sous les SJv^reSy 242, 

Digitized by 


Afy^As.] Natural Magnets ; Meteorites ; Beth-Iils, 95 

Universe-wheel (which I have to defer till later on), the black 
stone, and the height of heaven, are all brought together. 

The extremely early religious relation which is here sought 
to be established between, let us say, ironstone and fire would 
naturally have led to the presence of both stone and fire at in or on 
the sacrificial altar where victims were first burnt to the supreme 
cosmic Northern ruler and Swayer of the Universe. And we do 
actually find in archaic China " a precious stone " and the victim 
ordered to be both placed upon the pyre for the " smoking sacri- 
fice/** The Chinese cyclopedia called the Wu tsa tsu (end of i6th 
centuiy) mentioned that " if the magnet-stone be heated, its fluid 
evaporates, and it is nO longer sensitive."* And this theory of 
mine may even point to the manner of the first smelting of an iron 
ore as an accident in the sacrificial fire. 

Meteorites, I would not here be misunderstood as controverting, 
in favour of the natural magnet, the other and the hitherto favourite 
meteoric origin of sacred stones, meteors containing as much as 
90 per cent, of iron. The two origins would have been independent, 
it is true, but not antagonistic. They are not alone compatible, 
but would have been mutually-supporting tenets, facts, of primeval 
stone-worship. One class of stones came from heaven ; the other 
pointed there. " So shakes the Needle, and so stands the Pole."* 

** A diamond-bearing meteorite recently fell in Siberia ; while 
in the Deesa meteorite we have a splinter from a vein of iron 
injected, it would appear, into a previously existing rock on some 
unknown planetary globe."* 

Milliter's well-known dissertation on bethels and heaven-fallen stones did 
not suggest the magnetic theory of " animation " which I have here started. 
He points out how they were, both great and small, preserved in temples for 
worship ; and how the smaller, as being less potent, served as domestic talis- 
mans or as charms and gri-gris of the diviners and astrologers. Creuzer quoted 
Mone's authority for the suspension of many aerolites in our day in the German 

The fall of aerolites, generally accompanied by the visible lumi- 
nousness of the meteor and an explosion, was confounded in past 
times with thunder,* and the popular belief still is that the thunder- 

* G. Schlegel : Uranog, Chifwisty 277. * Klaproth, La BaussoU, 97. 

■ Don Juan, i, 196. * The System of the Stars, by Agnes M. Gierke, 1890, p. 87. 

* Guignaut*s Creuzer, i, 90, 555. 

* Th. H. Martin : Lafoudre etc. chez Us ancient, 175, 178, 195, 206. 

Digitized by 


96 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

bolt IS a stone. Bottiger^ and F. Lenormaht considered that the 
Cretan legend of the Kronos-swallowed divine Zeus-stone arose in 
an aerolitic baitulos there adored as an image of Zeus or as Zeus 
himself. The stone adored on Ida appears to have had the same 
origin.' At Pessinonte a stone fallen from the heavens was adored as 
the image of Cybel^,' being afterwards removed to Rome by order of 
Attalus of Pergamos.* It later formed the face of her statue and 
was silvered over.* It was small, dark, with projecting angles, and of 
irregular shape ; an aerolite, doubtless. Pindar, seeing a stone fall 
with flames and noise, devoted it to the Mother of the Gods.* " I 
have seen the baitulia flying in the heavens," wrote Damascius ; 
and it was even believed that the stones retained after their fall the 
divine power of again at times flying through the air in the midst 
of a globe of fire. A very strange (and questionable) instance is 
the colossal emerald of the temple of Melqarth at Tyre (Herod, ii, 
44) which (according to F. Lenormant) was described in the San- 
choniathon fragments as a star which fell from heaven — aepoirerff 
aa-ripa — and was picked up by Astart^. But Herodotus speaks 
of two columns, the one of gold, the other of "smaragd which 
shines by night mightily.**^ 

[The Brontes, Cerauniae, and Ombriae of the Greeks and Romans 
are dealt with later on.] 

The Loadstone. Abel Remusat, in the Mhnoires which he 
published in 1824, said that the polarity of the loadstone had been 
discovered and put into operation from the remotest antiquity 
in China, and this the Abb^ Hue endorsed.* But the earliest use 
of the magnetic needle in China is not, as it seems to me, to be 
sought for in a mariner's compass, but in the geomantic instru- 
ment used in the Feng-Shui hocus-pocus which still exercises a 
supreme hold over the whole nation. This consists of the 8 
glyphs or graphs or grams or changes of the Y-King^ from ^^^^ 

(S. or N.W.) to (N. or S.W.), ranged round a circle, with 

inner compartments indicating planetary, elementary, stellar and 
animalistic lucky or disastrous influences. The whole 64 (8 x 

* Jdcen %ur Kunstmytk, ii, 17. * Claudian, De rapt, Proserp,^ i, 201. 

* Appian. vii, 56. Herodian i, 11. Amm. Marcell., xxii, 2a. 

* Livy, xxix, 2 ; lo, 4 ; II, 5, 8. • Arnob. vii, 49 ; Prudentius. 

* Saglio, Diet des Antiq, i, 643, 644. 

' See also Pliny Hist. Nat. xxxvii, 5. 19 ; Movers Phoen. i, 345, 8a 

* Hue's Travels, i, 244. 

Digitized by 


Myths^ Natural Magnets ; Meteorites ; B£th-Els. 97 
— ^ — ■ — — — ^^ 

8) of the doubled or reinforced signs are sometimes displayed ; 
and in their centre pivots the magnetic needle/ which thus has 
(and may from an untold antiquity have had) no connexion what- 
ever with navigation, but only with Earth (and Heavens) worship. 
Does not this view considerably change the venue as to the 
"invention" of the mariner's compass, or rather move (for the 
first time ?) a previous question ? 

Klaproth (as I now find on this i8th of May 1891) had 
approximated to this in 1834,' but without formulating a conclu- 
sion of the leading sacred importance that I am inclined to lend to 
my own theory. 

The more modem employment of the loadstone in China, he says^ was ot 
make compasses with needles that, either floating on water or suitably pivoted, 
turned in every direction. The more ancient usage was to employ loadstones 
and magnetised iron in the south- 
pointing cars, che nan k'ii (or ch'^) 
^ ^ ^, on the axle or front of 
which pivoted a small upright figure 
carved in jade or wood, whose right 
arm extended in front always pointed 
south, by means of course of a mag- 
net concealed in that limb. Such a 
wagon always preceded the chariot 
of the Emperor, said the Tsin chi 

* Eitel's FengShui^ pp. 35 1043. 

' Lettre k A. von Humboldt sur la Bousso.e, P« 7i. 

Digitized by 


9^ The Night of the Gods, [Axis 

(? shu), and the Now chow luh (by Ts'ui Paou) says they were given as 
Emperor's presents to the great dignitaries of the kingdom (319 to 351 A.D.). 
These carts or wagons were also used in journeys, and indeed it stands to reason 
that the land- traveller's use of the magnet may well have been older than the 
mariner's. Here are figured after Klaproth these little mannequins, one C the 
Chinese in Jade (16 inches high), from Wang KVs cyclopedia the Sanistu 
tU'hwuy (1609) ; the other J the Japanese, from the great Japanese Encyclo- 
pedia (voL 33), but doubtless there copied from a Chinese print 

These figures were also used for laying out temples, as the 
Chinese cyclopedia (v. 10) says: " In the years Yanyow (1314 to 
1320 A.D.) it was desired to fix the aspect of the monastery of 
Yao-mu-ngan, and it was used for determining its position." 
Here, I think, fengshui, of which Klaproth knew nothing, must also 
come in: Biot^ added that the cars were kept in the imperial palace, 
which was always regularly aspected in all its parts. 

We seem to have an exact parallel to this Chinese usage, by 
which diviners work the astrological compass for laying out 
buildings, in the notorious fact that the Roman land-surveyors 
plotted out their ground exactly in the same way as the augurs did 
their templum ; and it is pointed out under the head of *' The 
North" how we even still owe the cross-walks of our kitchen- 
gardens to that very practice. 

But Klaproth also named the Chinese " astrological compass," which shows 
the eight famous Kwa round the needle, and which I here figure after him. 

It is called, he says, lo king |^ ]Q| or ;^, the regulated directions ; or lo 
king 1^ ^ the regulating mirror ; and also fimg kian ]^ j[|K winds-mirror. 
Lo king is also used of the nautical compass. Biot (p. 827) mentioned the 
Lo'king Kiaij a description of this lo king published in 1618, which Stanislas 
Julien brought to his notice. 

According to the " Grand Mirror of the Manchu and Chinese Tongues," 
it was used by the diviners in constructing a house, to determine whether its 
situation was happily chosen.* But the figure I give is simple compared with 
the greater compass given also by Klaproth. Its elaborate complication 
forbids reproduction here at present. It consists, outside the needle, of 15 
concentric circles each separated by radii into from 8 to 360 divisions, making 
1 368 divisions in alL Of these 168 are blank, leaving 1200 with astro-nomical and 
-logical characters. Klaproth (p. 1 16) said he knew nothing whatever of the use 
of this instrument. 

These land geomantic or fengshui compasses must be what are 
called in Annam and Tonkin d'ia ddn, earth-plates, jft jjf, Chinese 

' P. 825 of Kis JVbU. • Klaproth, tit sup, 109. 

» Klaproth, ibid, 36. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] Natural Magnets; Meteorites ; Bith-^ls. 99 

Ed. Biot, who verified every fact here compulse by me 
from Klaproth/ added some important facts of his own seeking on 
this subject The YUh-ftat, a cyclopedia of the early 12th century 
(first printed edition 1 351), is one of the best works of its class, 

(Next the neadle are the 8 kwa,' then come the 12 cyclic signs or double-hours, then 
their animals, then the animals* names, then the 8 chief rhumbs.) 

' See Biot's Note in the Cotuptes rendus of the Academic des Sciences (1844), xix, 
822 sq. 

' It will be seen that the positions here of the four which correspond to the four on 
the Corean flag in the section on '' The Tomoye," are not identical with the positions of 
these last. This is because there was a posterior recasting of all the eight in China by 
W6n Wang, which is the arrangement given in this compass. (See both in Mayers*s 
Manualy p. 385.) The character J in the ring outside the kwa b shaky. 

G 2 

Digitized by 


loo The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

said Wylie,* though requiring to be read with discrimination. This 
YUh'kai^ quoted from Han Fei (who lived in the 3rd century B.C. 
said Wylie p. 74; who was a Taoist philosopher of the middle 
of the 4th century B.C. said Biot p. 824) the following passage : 
** The ancient sovereigns established sse-nan (point-south) to 
distinguish the morning-side from the evening-side " ; and a com- 
mentator adds in the YUh-kat : " the sse-nan is the che-nan-ch'^ " 
(point-south-car). [On this Biot remarked that sse-nan and che- 
nan are still employed without the word needle (chin) as names for 
the compass.] 

Biot's conclusion distinctly stated (p. 824) was that the know- 
ledge of the magnetised needle in China from at least the first 
centuries of our era is denoted by their books ; and it is not 
easy to overestimate the value of Ed. Biot's opinion on Chinese 

But the complications of the Chinese points or rhumbs arc 
even still greater than above shown, and the inevitable con- 
viction which a sustained study of them brings home is the 
illimitable stretch of time during which they must have been 
slowly developing. And this unavoidable and overwhelming fact, 
to which there is nothing else of the kind at all comparable, gives 
in itself an antiquity of irreversible title to the compass that no 
other nation whatever on the face of the globe can now contest with 
China.* For example here follows a tabulation of four separate 
lists of separate designations of the points ; which are in addition to 
the ordinary 

E Tung (or chang, upper). This must be left, 

S Nan (or tsisin, front), 

W Si (or hia, lower). This must be right. 

N Peh (or how, dock). 
These second names show that the fixture of the points was 
supposed to be made in looking from the N. 

* Notes on Cki. Lit. 1867, p. 148. 

* In the section on Cars, article Sse-nan-ch*$. 

* There is one other analogous monument of archaic cosmic divination in the tarot 
cards, of which it may be possible some day to treat. Meanwhile I throw out the 
suggestion that they may have partly had their Italian origin from the Chaldaei (as they 
called themselves) who " worked the oracle " with the teachings of Bercsus and of bis 

Digitized by 


Myths!] Natural Magnets; Meteorites; Beth-nls. loi 

The 8 kwa of 

























The 1 6 horizons 

geographical and 


szu-u . . 

u-weL . 

yow-siu . 
hal-tsu . 


The 24 nautical 




chow-in ^ 

in-mao , 

These have also 
another arrangement. 

Same as the Malay 


i S. . . . i 
4 S. . . .shin 


t S. . . . szu 
I S. . . . ping 


4 W. . . ting 
i W. . . w^ 


# W. . . shin 
I W. . . keng 


i N. . . .sin 

4 N. . . . siu 


IN.. . . hal 

«N.. . .jm 


4 £. . . . kuei 
4 £. . . . chow 


IE., . , in 
I E. . . . kia 

These begin at the 

The 12 animal signs. 

Mao — hare. 

Shin — dragon. 

Szu — serpent. 

U — horse. 

Wei — sheep. 







Tsu — rat. 
Chow — ox. 

In ^ tiger. 

These begin at the 

(used also in Japan). 

Klaproth says (p. 71) that many Chinese authors have con- 
founded the magnetiC'Car and the compass, being followed in 
this error by Dr. R. Morrison's Dictionary, which rendered che 
nan ch'd as " a compass." 

So vast must be the antiquity of the che-nan-ch'^ that its 
invention is attributed to Hwang-Ti,^ the fabulous Emperor whom 

^ In the Great Annals, T*ung JCien Kang Muh, The Kbkinchu gives an almost 
identical account 

Digitized by 


T02 The Night of the Gods. \Axis 

I maintain to have been a universe-god. He used the invention 
against the rebel rival power Ch'ih Yeo, a sort of Satan or Typhon, 
and also the chief of 8i beast-bodied />^;^-browed man-voiced 
dust-eating brothers. Note the good god using the magnet against 
the evil iron, which is quite an Egyptian conception. He pursued 
his enemy and seized him. This is of course all celestial myth ; 
and there is a further curious parallel to the Egyptian allegory 
in the legend that the corpse of Ch*ih Yeo was cut up (like that 
of Osiris) and its|imbs sent to various places.* 

The invention of the cars was also credited to Chow Kung to serve in 
guiding back to their country the envoys who came B.C. u lo to offer homage 
from regions which were, periiaps, those now knoMi^ as Tonquin. This is 
treated in Dr. Legge's Shoo Kingy ii, 245, as a fatde devised long after 
date. But Prof. G. Schlegel informs me that the annals of Annam corroborate 
the Chinese record as to this or a similar incident.* Of course we need 
not credit Chow Kung with the actual invention, but with the employment 
of the chariots on this occasion. It is stated in Chu-Hi's compilation noted 
below that the assertion was made about Chow Kung in the She Ki 
(Historical Records) of Sze-ma Ts'ien (b.c 163 to 85 ?) but Klaproth (p. 82) 
could not find it there. There seen^s to have been another attribution of new 
cars to a Chang H^ng the astronomer under the later Hans* (from A.D. 220X 
and also of a re-invention to Ma-Kun a mechanician of the 3rd century A.D, 
Kiai-fei and Yao.-hing are also said in the Treatise on Cerwnonies in the Book 
of Sling, Sung'ShUy to have made such carts circa A.D, 340.* So did one Tsu 
chung chi in the period 479 to 510 A.D. 

Biot stated (p. 824) that " in the middle of the 3rd century of our era (3rc| 
year of ts'ing-lung, A.D. 235) the annals of Wei mention the cars indicators of 
the South, made aftjer the model of the prececling dynasty, that of the Han, 
These oars are dted in the ofEdal history of the Tsin dynasty which reigned 
from 265 to 419 of our era ; in that of the Tartar prince Shi-hu who occupied 
the North of China from 335 to 349 ; and finally in the official history of the 
first Sung dynasty, which reigned in the South from 420 to 477, The cars arq 
described anew, said Riot continuing, in the reigns of the Emperors Hien Tsung 
(806 to 820 A.D.) and J^n Tsung, under the crates 1027 and 1053. 

So much as to the land-compass- wagon that may have preceded 
the ship-compass. But there is in K'ang Hi's modem Dictionary, 
and in many other Chinese dictionaries, a quotation from the 
earliest dictionary (by radicals) called the Shw^ w&n (by Hiii 
Shin, A.D. 100) which under the character Tsze •? defines the word 
as '* the name of a stone with which the needle is directed," S ^ "^f 

* T'^uf^ Kien Kang MUh (superintcDded by Chn Hi himselO- 

* Coun (fhistoire Annamite par P. J. B. Tniong-VKnh-Ky, Saigon, 1875, *» ^ '* 

• Ts'ui-Pao*s Ko-Kin^Chu (Ancient and Modem Commentary, '4th century A.D.j, 
authenticity doubtful). 

♦ Klaproth, 85, 9a 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] Natural Magnets ; Meteorites ; Bith-Els. 103 

£1 51 Ijjt-^ The Pei wdn yun fu (171 1), the most extensive 
lexicon ever published (no thick volumes) says there were during 
the Tsin dynasty (265 to 419 A.D.) ships indicating the south.* 

Gaubil* pointed out a passage in the Mung kH pdh fan, a 
firstrate book of the nth century, which Biot (p. 825) gave in full : 
" Diviners rub a needle with the loadstone ; then it can mark the 
South. Still it constantly declines a little to the East ; it does not 
indicate the exact South. When this needle floats on water it is 
much shaken ; it is better to hang it They take a new cotton 
thread and with a little wax fix it to the exact middle of the needle, 
and hang it where there is no wind ; then the needle continuously 
shows the South. Among these needles are some which being 
rubbed mark the North." [This statement shows that the compiler 
had no practical technical knowledge, for it is absurd in itself. 
" Our diviners have some which mark the South, and others which 
mark the North," or, may this have been part of the patter 
of these jugglers?] "Of this property which the loadstone 
possesses for showing the South (as the cypress shows the West) 
no one has been able to give the origin." (Bk. 24, Tsa-ski.) 

Klaproth (p. 67) gave the first sentence of the above but took it at second- 
hand from the Pei wdn yun fu already mentioned. Part of the remainder he 
quoted from the Pun ts^aouyan /, a medical natural -history by Kow tsung shi* 
dating from a.d. i i i i or i 1 i 7. In the Chtnla ( = Cambodia) y^/i^ fu ki^ a des- 
cription of Cambodia and a voyage thereto by Chow Takwan in A.D. 1295, 
the ship's course is always indicated by the chin or rhumbs ^ of the compass 
as shown in column 3 on p. loi. 

The great superiority of the Chinese mariner's compass to any then known 
in Europe was pointed out by Sir John Barrow in 1797* ; the manner in which 
the needle was hung quite defeating the vertical dip, and the pivoting arrangement 
being both complex and perfect These were not water-compasses, but they too 
must have been ancient in China, and had clearly gone out of use in the end of 
the 1 6th century, when the Wu isa tsu cyclopedia said that the compass was 
generally used, but that diviners still worked with chin pan or plates, the needle 
of which rested on water.* 

The Sinico-Japanese name for the magnet is the Chinese -^ ^ tsu-shih 
love-stone, which in Japan is pronounced ji-shaku ; the loadstone itself they even 
call jishaku-seki, where seki is a re-duplication, for it = shaku = stone. Klaproth 

* I here revise Klaproth by Ed. Biot, and add that the Japanese dictionary Shin-sd 
jibiki gives for -^ the meaning tsugu-nan ji = tellsouth time. 

* Klaproth, 66, 67 ; Biot, 824. ' Astrommic Chinoise^ p. 100. * Klaproth, 68, 95. 
' Embassy to Emperor of China, by Sir G. Staunton, i, 441. • Klaproth, 97. 

' This is the character in the Shin-sd jibiki and in Hepburn's Diet, Prof. Douglas points 
out that it ought to be (in Chinese) ^ and that is the character Klaproth used (p. 21). 

Digitized by 


104 The Night of the Gods. \Axt$ 

gave a pure Japanese name for the loads tone, hari-suri febi (he mis-wrote it fori 
soufi issi) = needle-rubbing stone, which I do not find elsewhere. Shi nan, 
which he gave (as si nan) for the Chinese che nan ^ ^ point-south, is not a 
Japanese word for the compass, so far as I know ; that is merely how a Japanese 
would read those Chinese words ; and in fact th? Sinico- Japanese word shinan, 
written with those characters, means oshiye, that is teaching or instruction. The 
same must be said fbr Klaproth*s kaku ban (he printed kak ban) as represent- 
ing the Chinese keh ^^^ |Sf % ) ^^ rakiy6 as representing lo king ; and for 
ji shin (Klaproth*s zi sin) as representing tsu chin = love-needle. And Klaprotb 
in giving ii siak-Jio fan as a translation of this tsu chin did not know that it was 
really ji^sh^ku no hari the needle of the X,^\x-shih, of the love-stone, as above, 
I also find tetsu-sui ishi (iron-$uqkin^ stone) for ji-shaku in the Japanese 
Dictionary called Shin-sd jibiki , I have also pointed out, under the heading of 
"The Number Eight," the archaic mythic place-name Idra-shi, magic-stone, 
as being possibly intended for the magnet. The vulgar name of tokei, given by 
the Japanese Wakan Sanzai dzu ye for the compass, means really a watch or 
clock, and the reason of the confusion is obvious to anyone who compares 
their dial-plates with their compass-rhumbs. H6bari, directions-needle -jj j^^ 
is the Qommon term far the compass ; and rashim ban j^ ^ '^ (where 
shim = shin = hari, needle) is a scientific term for a mariner's or " field 
compass.'** Rashin = magnetic needle.' 

The Japanese statements about the guide-carts, shirube-kuruma, which 
Klaproth quoted from the JVaJi sAi QsLpSinese Things origin; of 1696, which 
again quoted from the Nihongi (Ja^pan-Chronicfe, A.D. 720), are unimportant 
and look like borrowings from Chinese records. The first is under the date of 
A.D. 658 (4th year of the Mikado Saimei) and says that Chi Yu, a shamin or 
Buddhist priest,|made a ^ ^ ^ (which are the Chinese characters fbr cbc 
nan k*u or ch'^, paint-soutli-cart). Under the year 666 (5th year of Tenji) it is 
again stated that the Chinese shamon Chi Yu offered ^ similar cart. The 
Japanese translation of che nan k'ii here is given as shirube kuruma = shpw- 
way cart (and shirube in Japan is written ^ •§). It is the name Chi Yu 
however ths^t suggests kx betrays the source^ In the first case it is written 
^ l^f ^'^^ ^° ^^ second ^ ^ (? source of wisdom), but it sounds like a 
garbling of the Chinese Ch'ih Yeo, ^ ^, whose myth wp haye hafl befo^re, 
and into whose i^mp the character for mountain ^| enters 

No literary record pf the use of the mariner's compass in Europe goes 
farther back than the end of the 12th century. In the satirical poem called 
La BibUy by Guyot de Provins (circa 1 190), the magpiet is mentioned as " une 
pierre laide et bruni^re,^ ou li fers volontiers se joint," (with which iron readily 
unites). He describes (for a comparison) how a needle, when touched wilh the 
loadstone and fixed in a straw or chip (festu) floating on the water, turns its 
point right against (toute contrc) The Star ; that is the polestar. He mentions 
the lighting up of the ship's needle also (after dark). But this describes no 
in Antion, but is a mere ordinary allusion in a poem to a well-known fact, 

* Hepburn, 4th ed, t§88. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] Natural Magnets ; Meteorites ; Bith-^ls '©S 

Jacques de Vitry in his Description de la Palestine (1218 ?) also made a passing 
reference to the adamas as touching a pointed iron which turned to the north 
star, whence it was very necessary to navigators on sea.* Again, towards 1260 
the grammarian Brunetto Latini, Dante's teacher, wrote his Trisor in French ; 
and therein mentioned a needle d'yamant, which is calamite, that turns its ends 
north and south, adding that mariners must carefully note these ends lest they 
be deceived. Brunetto was in England, and seems to have been shown his 
first magnet and magnetised needle by Roger Bacon at Oxford. This was 
before he wrote his Tresor^ and he described it in a letter which was published 
in the Monthly Magazine for June 1802 ; but the words of his description are 
a clos^ prose equivalent of the passage in La Bible, No one seems to have 
detected this, but either Brunetto drew op La Bible or else (which is perhaps 
equally probable) he and Guyot drew on some previous identical source. As 
this is of some import, and as I shall want them again for the section on " The 
Poles tar '* I give the two passages in full. 

" Pe nostfe P^re PApostoile? | vousisse qu'il semblast I'Estoile | qui ne se 
me(it ; mout bien la yoieqt | li marinier qui si navoient' | Par cele Estoile vont 
et viennent, | et lor sens et lor voie tjenent | II I'appellent la Tresmpntaigne* \ 
Celleestatachieetcertaine; | toutes les autres se removent, | et lor Jeus* eschan- 
gent et muevent, | mais cele estoile ne se meut. | 

Un art font qui mentir ne puet, | par la vertu de la maniere,* \ Une fi^rre 
laide et brunihre^ \ oii li fers volontiers se joints \ ont ; si esgardept le drpit 
point I Puis c'une aguile i ont touchie, | et en un festu Pontfichie^ \ en Pesve la 
mettent sanz plus, | et // festus la tient desusj \ puis se torne la poinie toute | 
contre r^stoile^ si sanz doute' | que ja nus.hom n'en doutera, | ne ja por rien 
ne faussera. | Quant la mer est obscure et brune, \ (fon ne voit estoile ne lune^ I 
dont font k Paiguille alumer ; | puis n'ont il garde d'esgarer. 

Contre I'Estoile va la pointe ; | por ce sont // marinier cointe | de la droite 
voie tenir ; | c'est un ars qui ne peut fallir. | Molt est I'Estoile et bele et clere ; | 
tiex devroit estre nostre P^re." [La Bible^ by iiuyot d.e Proyjns, circa a,d, 
1 190. M6on, Fabliaux^ ii, 328.] 

" II [Roger Bacon] n)je montra la magnete, fiierre laide et noire ^ ob ele Je^ 
volontiers se joint, L'on touche ob une aiguiHet, et en festue Pon fichej pui^ 
Ton met en Paigue^ et se tient d^ssuSy et la pointe se toume contre P Estoile. 
Quant la nuitfut tembrousy et Pon r^ voie estoille ni lune^ poiet // marinier tenir 
droite voie" [Brunetto Latini's letter, before a.d. 126a] 

This " ugly and black " description may con>e down from the fifth Idyll of 
Claudianus (circa 400 A.D.), where the stone is mentioned in these words : 
" l^pis est cognomine Magnes, decolor, Qbscurus, vilis." Clauiianus also 
versified the ancient theory that the magnet lived on iron, which renewed its 

To these I add the passage frpm the Bishop of Acre, Jacques de Vitry 

> Historiae Hierosolimitanae, cap. 89. * The Pope. ' ainsi naviguent, 

* In another MS. ** la tres-montaine ;" and he also calls it tresmontaine at line 827. 
I fear I shall not have the important 13th century Dit de la Tresmontaigne in my hands 
)n tin)e to extend tliis note. 

* lieu^. • In another MS. ** la manete." M. Paulin Pftris made it ramaniere. 
7 so undoub^ly. 

Digitized by 



io6 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

(i 180-1240?) : Adamas in India reperitur . . . femim occulta quidam naturi 
ad se trahit. Acus ferrea postquam adamantem contigerit, ad Stellam Septen- 
trionalem (quae velut axis firmamenti, aliis vergentibus, non movetur) semper 
convertitur ; unde valde necessarius est navigantibus in rnari [Historian Hieroso- 
limitanae^ cap. 89, circa A.D. 121 8]. 

Tiraboschi's " Italian Literature" (iv, 171), had fully established in Hallam's 
opinion that the polarity of the Magnet was well-known in the 13th century ; 
and a poet of that period, Guido Guinizzelli, had the following lines : 

In quelle parti sotto Tramontana 

sono li monti della Calamita,* 

che dan virtute all' aere 

di trarre il ferro ; ma perch^ lontana 

vole di simil pietra aver aita, 

a far la adoperare, 

e dirizzar lo ago in ver la Stella.* 
Klaproth" was convinced that the aquatic compass was written of as early as 
1242 among the Arabs as a thing generally known ; and he quoted The Mer- 
chant's Treasure of Stonelore, by Bailak of Kibjak (a.d. 1282), who de visu 
described the needle of the Syrian pilots as " facing by its two points the South 
and the North." Bailak had also heard of a hollow iron fish used for the same 
purpose by the ship-captains of the Indian seas. We have already had a 
mention of the aquatic compass in China in 1 1 17, which is the earliest by some 
80 years of all modern dates about the subject 

Nala a monkey-god has in the Rdmdyana the power of making stones float 
in water. A too vivid imagination might here pretend to see a natural-magnet 
floated (on timber?) so as to admit of its northing. 

" Meckel arrives quite empirically and impartially at the conclusion that 
vegetative existence in animals, the first growth of the embryo, the assimilation 
of nourishment, and plant-life, ought all properly to be considered as manifes- 
tations of the Will ; nay that even the inclinations of the magnetic needle seem 
to be something of the same kind."* I take that passage from Schopenhauer's 
Will in Nature^ where Schopenhauer says it is just possible the general idea 
of Meckel may have been taken from him, Schopenhauer. I should rather 
believe that, as to the natural magnet, it first arose as an idea of a deus 
absconditus in pre-historic times. 

One of my important facts here is the extreme holiness of the 
natural magnet, that is of magnetic iron-ore in Egypt. It was 
supposed to come from Horus. 

Dr. Birch gave baa-n-pet J \ ^ ^Jj^ P ^j (Coptic, benipi, penipe) as 

* See p. 129 infra, 

* Guinguene, Hist, Littir, de tltalie^ i> 4I3» See also Hist, Litt, de la France^ par 
les B^n^ictins, xviii, 813. 

' Utsup. pp. 57, 64. * Archiv,fur die Physiologie (\%\^\ v, 195-198. 

ind Sons (1889), p. 248. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] Natural Magnets ; Meteorites ; BHh-Els. 107 

ferrum ;» but Dev^ria said it was " aimant, pierre d'aimant, fer aimant^e.'** 
Does the determinative for heaven \ \ also embrace here the meteoric 
heaven-fallen idea ; or only, with \^, imply the northern heavens ? Dev^ria 
and Chabas said baa J 1 ^ ^ jfi was iron. 

A result of this reverence was the evil reputation of non- 
magnetic iron which, although known in Egypt from the highest 
antiquity, had always been rare. It belonged to the evil god Set, 
and was therefore employed in some liturgies, which must have 
been those of black magic, for it could not be used in common life 
without contempt for sacred things, and thus with great repug- 
nance.* It must be concluded from this that the possibility of 
magnetising iron \yas unknown when these fancies took their deep 

Iron, says Maspero,* was pure or impure according to circum- 
stances. Some traditions made it evil, and the " bones of Typhon ;" 
others said it was the very substance of the canopy of heaven, 
baa-n-pet = celestial metal. But Th^odule Dev^ria gave the 
obvious explanation of this last when he said baa-n-pet, iron of 
heaven, must be meteoric ironstone, M. Maspero thinks the rare 
finding of iron objects in Egypt is due not to its ancient absence 
but because it has got oxidised away in the lapse of time. But 
this is not a sufficing reason. Manethon* called the magnet 
(a'i8r)f>lTi<; Xifio?) the bone of Horus, and iron (aiSrjpo<;) the bone of 

Mr. King figured 17 " gnostic gems " cut on loadstones (haeniatite ?) in his 
T^ Gnostics (1864). 

In order to show how the superstitions about the loadstone 
stood among the savants of 250 years ago, I condense from Van 
Boot's Le Parfaict loaillier (Lyons, 1644, pp. 564, &c.) as follows : — 

By reason of the admirable nature, by which it appears animated^ and by 
which it knows the regions of the heavens . . . the aimant [the French term is 
purposely retained] ought with justice and reason to be preferred to all other 
precious stones. The part of the ajmant which repulses and throws off iron was 
called theamede^ by the ancients and ein Bleser in Germany. There was 
believed to be a male and a female aimant [which is not so very far off our 

» Other fonns arc J q \ ^ ^ and J H \ D_ f. (Wallis-Budge). 

* Pierret, Vocab. 119, 120. • Th. Dev^ria : Le fer tt V aimant, 

^ Egypt, Arch. (Edwards), 191. * Pidot's Frag, Hist, Grac, ii, 613. 

* See what is said later on as to sacre^ words {n the- (consult Index) ; and the 
]Sgyptian beliefs as to magnet and iron, just above, Theamedes was suppose^] also to be 

he toum^ahne ; and see J*liny, xxxvi, 16, 25. 

Digitized by 


108 The Night of the Gods. ' {Axis 

modem terms of positive and negative electricity.]. The aimant showed the 
quarters (plages) of the world, and attracted iron, or else the iron's better part, 
which is steel. Many thought that it sought the iron because it fed upon it, 
and so was conserved, and even increased its force : which was proved true by 
experiment ; for when buried in iron filings the aimant became more lively and 
efficient, the filings changing little by little to rust. It knew and felt the diver- 
sity of parts and directions. Van Boot said also : " I doubt, for my part, 
whether the aimant tends to the Pole or to the Axis ; and it seems more like 
the truth that it tends to the Axis, because of its divers declinations." 

Paracelsus used it in surgical plasters, because of its power of drawing 
iron ; and it cured in a very short time all sword-wounds whether of edge or 
point But this plaster was a complex one, consisting kA beeswax, resin, olive- 
oil and chelidoine ; oak-leaf juice, alchimilje juice, and veronica juice ; ammo- 
niac, galbanum, and opopanax ; colophonia, amber, mastic, myrrh, incense, and 
sarcocoUe ; saffron of Mars, saffron of Venus, prepared thutia, and calaminary 
stone ; vitriol and powdered lotidstone. 

Aristotle indeed, added Van Boot's commentator, Andrew Toll, was not 
ignorant that the loadstone possessed the faculty of attracting iron, but he was 
wholly ignorant that it was proper for navigation. [This comes from an Arabic 
pseudo- Aristotle.] 

We do not seem to have advanced much since then. The following is an 
extract from the address of the President of the Institution of Electrical Engi- 
neers, Dr. J. Hopkinson, on 9th January, 1890 : 

The President, in his inaugural address, which was op the subject of 
" Magnetism," discussed Poisson's hypothesis that each molecule of a magnet 
contained two magnetic fluids which are separated from each other under the 
influence of magnetic force. But this theory gives no hint that there is a limit 
to the magnetisation of iron — a point of saturation ; none of hysteresis ; no 
hint of any connexion between the magnetism of iron and any other property 
of that substance ; no hint why magnetism disappears at a high temperature. 
It does however give more than a hint that the permeability of iron cannot 
exceed a limit much less than its actual value ; and that it must be constant 
for the materia], and independent of the force applied, 

Weber's theory, which was a very distinct advance on Poisson's, thoroughly 
explains the limiting value of magnetisation, since nothing more could be done 
than to direct all the molecular axes in the same direction. But Weber's theory 
does not touch the root of the matter by connecting the magnetic property with 
any other property of iron, nor does it give any hint as to why the moment of 
the moleculi disappears so rapidly at a certain temperature. 

Ampere's theory might be said to be a development of Weber's ; but so far 
as he (the President) knew, nothing that has ever been proposed even attempts 
to explain the fundamental anomaly, " Why do iron, nickel, and cobalt possess 
a property which .we have found nowhere else in Nature ?" It might be that 
at a lower temperature other metals would be magnetic, but of this we have at 
present no indication. For the present the magnetic properties of iron, nickel, 
and cobalt stand exceptional as a breach of that continuity which we are in the 
habit of regarding as a well-proved law of Nature.— (J/(C?r^//i^ Post^ io/i/9a) 

Digitized by 


Myths ^ Natural Magnets ; Meteorites ; BHh-hls. 109 

The late Mr. Croll* quoted quite recently from Sir Henry Roscoethe theory 
that internal " masses of metallic iron may go far to explain the well-known 
magnetic condition of our planet." This may account for the Earth's being 
a possible magnet ; but of course not one little bit for a magnet (Earth or other) 
being magnetic. 

Mesmer expounded that his subtle fluid, the general agent of all changes 
in the Cosmos, in its properties much resembled the loadstone. He therefore 
called his bodily effluvium or influence "Animal Magnetism." The Jesuit 
astronomical professor Maximinius Hell, the Hungarian (1720- 1792), vaunted his 
cures by the agency of magnetised iron. 

In the g*'^''^^(K -^^^'^w (of all places in the world) for July 1890 is the 
following : " There is nothing inherently absurd in supposing that living 
creatures possess a property analogous to magnetism, by virtue of which they 
may act and react on each other ; and there is not a little in the most recent 
experiments, particularly those with magnets, which go some way towards 
proving it." 

But listen to the bonimeni now pattered by the hypnotic mystifiers who 
ensleep others while resting very wide-awake themselves. " If the hypnotised 
subject in a state of lethargy grasps the North pole of a magnet, he is filled 
with intense joy, and sees beautiful" (!) "flames issuing from the end of the 
magnet. If, however, he is connected with the South pole he is profoundly 
miserable, and usually flings the magnet away in horror."* 

Do I sleep, do I dream, or is Visions about ? 

We know very well that Borrow is not a witness that can safely be called 
to prove very much more than his own breezy and inventive genius, but he said 
that "if the Gitinos in general be addicted to any one superstition, it is 
certainly with respect to la bar lachiy the loadstone, to which they attribute 
all kinds of miraculous powers."* Elsewhere he says they looked on the 
book of his " Gypsy Luke " in the light of a charm ; every woman " wished to 
have one in her pocket, especially in thieving expeditions. Some even went so 
Deu* as to say that it was as efficacious as the bar lachiy which they are in general 
so desirous of possessing." Vaillant* calls it bar i lashiy in the "langue 
Rommane des Sigans," bar meaning stone, but he does not translate the rest, 
unless ilashi, like ileski, means " of the heart, cordial." 

Borrow goes on to say that the Spanish Gypsy-smugglers and horsecopers 
arc particularly anxious for a loadstone, which they carry on them in their 
ventures. It causes clouds of dust to rise and conceal them from the pursuing 
police or gaugers. They always succeed when they have this precious stone 
about thenL They also lend it occult erotic virtues, and Gypsy women will do 
anything to get such stones in their natural state, which is difficult. Borrow 
stated that many attempts had — ^he wrote about 1839— been made by them to 
steal a large piece of American loadstone from the Madrid museum. Their 

' SUllar Evolution, hy ]9mes Croll, LL.D., F.R.S., 1889, p. 12. 
' Fortnightly Review , August 1890. 

» The Zincali (1888), pp. 185, 199. "Brother," said a Spanish Gypsy-woman to 
Borrow, "you tell as strange things, though perhaps you do not lie" (ibid., 131). 
* Grammaire, Paris 1861, 97. 

Digitized by 


"o The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

loadstone philter is, he said, its powder swallowed in ardent spirits at bedtime, 
while a magic rhyme is repeated about three black kids, three carts, three black 
cheeses, and the loadstone. 

The gypsy name seems to be parallel perhaps to the Malayan bitu barini 
or brini = courage-stone.* 

There is a curious passage in the fragments of Xanthos' which says that the 
Magnetes {Le, that people) regarded Magnus (or the magnet ?) as evil, because 
he inspired the Magnesian women with love. 

I think the myth of Mahomet's coffin must undoubtedly be not 
only magnetic but cosmic, that is some very archaic symbolic 
allegory of the suspension of the Earth (in which Mahomet was 
buried at Medina) in space, between the N. and S. celestial 
magnetic poles. The pious Moslem belief that the coffin is upheld 
by 4 angels tells for this cosmic theory (see "The Cardinal 


Though I have never met with this cosmic suggestion, the idea 
about the manner of the suspension of the coffin by magnetic force 
is by no means novel. It will be found in van Boot's (= Anselmi 
Boetii) Historia gemmarum et lapidum^ And Pliny* in -A.D. J J 
told a tale that Dinocrates, the famous architect and engineer of 
Alexander and of Alexandria, circa 280 B.C., had projected building 
of loadstone the vault of the temple of Arsino^ ("Venus 
Zephyritis," daughter of Lysimachus, and first wife of Ptolemy 
Philadelphus) so as thus to support in mid-air the iron statue of 
Egypt's deified queen. Two other resemblant (Chinese) legends 
are told of the tombs of Confucius and Chu-Ko Liang. 

In nearer times, Tsong-Kaba, the reformer of the Thibetan Lamas, became 
Buddha in 1419 ; and his coffin, in the Lamasery of Khaldan, remains un- 
supported, save by perennial miracle, a little way above the ground.* 

* Klaproth*s Boussole^ p. 22. ^ No. 19, p. 40 of Didot's Frag, Hist, Crac. vol. i. 
■ 1598 (?) ii, cap. 254, * Nat. hist, xxxiv, 14. * Hazlitt's Hue, ii, 50. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] Natural Magnets; Meteorites ; Bith-^is, m 

JDtlTH-tlLS, The fragments of Sanchoniathon (as translated 
"^^^by Philo) say that Ouranos the father of Kronos also had a son 
named BervXo?, which Frangois Lenormant put back into Phoeni- 
cian as B^th-iil ; and again it is said that Ouranos " invented 
BatTuXia, manufacturing animated stones. The myths of AatAaXo9 
(divided-stone ? and will that explain SaL-fuov, BaL-/iovo<; as a dual- 
one?) and Pygmalion making animated statues are parallel. 

M. Maspero says of the Egyptian sacred statues that " they were animated 
and, in addition to their bodies of stone metal or wood, had each a soul magic- 
ally derived from the soul of the divinity they represented. They spoke moved 
acted, not metaphorically but actually."* 

It is not always easy to decide, writes Dr. J. J. M de Groot,* whether a 
Chinaman views the tablets of his ancestors (Ke-Shin-pai, family-soul-plank) as the 
dwelling of one of the three souls (compare the Egyptian ba, ka, and khu) which 
they give to every human being, or only as a visible souvenir of the dead. But 
certain ceremonies after a death evidently have the object of inviting the soul of 
the dead to come and inhabit the tablet. The son in a loud voice invites 
eth soul of the dead father to come out from the tomb j^ Jjj and pass into the 
tablet (See Manalis lapis, p. ii8.) 

These statements of Sanchoniathon cannot be kept separate 
from the Cretan myth, first found in Hesiod, that Rhea deceived 
Kronos with a stone wrapped in swaddling-clothes (Pausanias viii, 
8) when he was about to devour the "lov of Philo- Sanchoniathon, 
the Jove of later times. 

In the temple of Hfirfi at Plataea of Boidtia was a statue of 
Rhea presenting Kronos with the stone wrapped in swaddling- 
clothes, and near Delphos* was the stone itself, afterwards vomited 
by Kronos, which was anointed with oil every day, and covered 
with new-shorn wool on every festival. 

According to Hesiod, when Zeus was grown up, he, by some 
means suggested by Gaia — Apollodoros (i, 2) says M^tis supplied 
a drug— compelled Kronos to disgorge all his children (D^m^t^r, 
H6ra, Hades, Poseid6n and the foisted stone), " and he vomited out 
the stone first, as he had swallowed it last."* Zeus fixed the stone 
at Pytho (Delphi) where Pausanias (x, 245) saw it, and where (says 

* ^Sy^^- ^^^^' (Edwards), 106. 
* FHes (T^numiy i, 20. • Paus. ix, 2 ; x, 24. * Theog. 498. 

Digitized by 


112 The Night of the Gods, [Axis 

Mr. Andrew Lang* with witty irreverence), as it did not tempt 
the cupidity of barbarous invaders, it probably still exists. 

Zeus (apud Hesiod and ApoUodoros') subsequently swallowed 
his pregnant spouse M^tis, child and all. The name Metis (counsel) 
requires investigation. Her lights were superior to those of all the 
other gods and of men ; which makes the feat of Zeus a reminder 
of Mirabeau humant toutes les formules ; and this meal of Zeus 
resulted in his producing Ath6n6. 

The Mongolian account of the origin of the Chinese gives us a striking 
version of the stone of Kronos. A poor Band^ meets two men quarrelling over 
a precious stone as big as a sheep's eye. He swallows the stone and it causes 
him to disappear, and also to spit gold. A daughter of the Khin has him bound 
with a horse-girth, dosed with salt-water, and flogged with a whip ; when out 
flies the stone from his stomach. The Band6 becomes a Thibetan Buddhist 
Lama. The Khin's daughter next swallows the stone, and so becomes pregnant ; 
and with her maids goes out to play at the White Tree. She gives birth to boy- 
twins, one good the other evil ; the following generations likewise are all twins. 
(Here we have a new view of the Chinese mythical duality.) They are all rich, 
and from them come the Chinese.* (Note the white Universe Haoma Tree, and 
compare the myth of Latona.) 

The holiest of Oaths among the Romans— swearing by Jupiter 
with a stone — must be connected with these early legends ; and 
this oath was actually sworn on a flint hatchet (lapis silex) preserved 
with the sceptre of the god in the temple of Jupiter Feretrius.* 
This stone was the god his very self, Jupiter Lapis.* Those who 
had to swear by Jove, said Festus,® held a flint : lapidem silicem 
tenebant juratori per Jovem. But he goes on at once, in giving the 
formula of the oath, to disclose that they really swore not by lu 
(lou, love) nor by luPiter, but by DisPiter : " tum me Dispiter " etc* 

In Keuchen's Cornelius Nepos (Hannibal) is a note stating that 
a Phoenician took a most solemn oath holding a lamb with the left 
hand and a silex knife with the other. He prayed his gods to 
strike him dead even as he killed the victim with the knife, should 
he violate his oath.' In the Saga of Gudrun they swore by the 
holy white stone, " at enom hvita helga steini."* At Pheneos in 
Arcadia oaths were taken by the petrotna of D^m^t^r which con- 

> Myth, RU,andRel i, 303. « BibL i, 3, 6. » Foikhre Journal, iv, 23. 

* Preller : Riim, Myth, iii, 2, b, 220 etc. Testae, feretrius, 

* Mneid^ xii, 200 ; Cicero, Ad, fam, vii, 12. 

* In voce Lapidem silicem. 

' Sven NiIsson*s Agede la Pierre, 3rd ed. 1868, p. 130. 

" Edda Saemundar Hinns Frbda, Stockholm 1818, p. 237 (in Goblet d'Alviella's 
Mig, des Symboles 1891, p. 135). 

Digitized by 


MyihsJ] Natural Magnets; Meteorites ; Beth-Els. i^3 

sisted of two large stones exactly laid one to the other, inside 
which the mystic books of Dem^t^r were inscribed/ and the stones 
were thus a parallel to the Hebrew Tables of the Law. At the 
annual festival the stones were turned on a pivot so as to show the 
writing ; and when closed they were covered with a round cap 
bearing a mask of D^m^t^r Kidaria (? tciSapi^ Persian tiara). 

The myth of Attius Navius cutting a flint, cos, with a sharp 
knife, novacula,' has its fuller doublet in the Praenestine, that is 
Latin, myth of Numerius Suffucius cutting or splitting a silex- 
stone in two and finding therein decrees of fate, sortes, engraved in 
pristine letters on oak. This again is as like as may be to the 
petroma of D^mdt^r. These divination sortes or lots were, on 
discovery, put for safety in an ark made out of an olivetree which 
at the same time and place began to flow with honey. And tAere 
was the temple founded in the town of Praeneste, where the dual 
infants Jove and Juno were represented as suckled at the breasts 
of Fortuna.' In the adjectival name Suffiicius (or Suffisium) we 
must see the supreme Judge (Sufes, sufi*es, a Punic word), and 
Numerius must be congeneric with Numa. The Alban Metius 
Fufetius* killed by Tullus Hostilius (= TcUus Hastilius) would give 
us a Central-Judge and a war-in-heaven, if we read 5ufetius. 

But let me take up once again the fragmentary record that 
Ouranos " invented /SatrvXiaf manufacturing animated stones." 
(^Ert Bi, (fyrjalv, hrevorjce Oeb^ Ovpav6<; ^airvKi^a, \l0ov<; ifi'^irxpv^ 
fif}XO'V7}<rdfi€vo^.y Here the epithet " animated," lfiyjrvxo<Sf inspirited, 
alive, would be applied by early man with startling truthfulness to 
the mineral natural magnet, ever turning towards the Polar seat of 
supreme power. And it thus seems to me that we have in the 
natural magnets the Beth-Els which Professor W. Robertson Smith 
has called baetylia, or god -boxes f sacred stones instinct with 
divinity, in which the god was supposed to reside, and which are 
found almost all over the world. " The living stone which is in- 
habited by a divine soul meets ua wherever we turn in studying the 
Asiatic mythologies of a period when ' all our fathers worshipped 
stocks and stones,' " writes Capt. Conder.' 

' Pausanias viii, 14, 8 ; 15, I. 

* Is this not really, as nova-acula (where acula is a diminutive of acus) a new-pointed 
stone tool ? The reference, I consider, must really be to the then long lost art of the 
cleaTage of flints in weapon-making. ' Cicero De Div. i, 17 ; ii, 42. * Livy i, 23, 4. 

* Eusebius Prep, Ev. i, 10. • Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia^ p. 50. 
^ Neih and Moab, p. 197. 


Digitized by 


114 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

The Greek derivation of /ScwruXta or ^rvkot from ^Ira OTpcurrj^ a sheepskin 
coat, because Kronos was tricked into swallowing the stone — Priscian's abadir 
— wrapped up in a /Sotn;, instead oi making a meal of Zeus himself, is of the 
amusing and amazing style of philok>gy. The Phoenician b^th-iil is doubtless 
the origin. 

The name Abadir^ dearly proves the Semitic origin of this particular stone- 
myth ; for abadir means " great (or glorious or venerable) father," and is thus 
at once an alias of Zeus or Jupiter and the title of the holy stone or betylus. It 
also shows that we should read into the myth, as the earliest names we can now 
find, those Phoenician ones of Amma, ll, Ba'al, and B^h-ul, instead of Rhea, 

r SaTumus, Jupiter, | ^^^ Betylus. This is confirmed for us by St. Angustin 

I Kronos, Zeus, J 

(Ep. 17) who mentions the African Abbadires as divinities that were baitulia, 
and explains their name as "powerful fathers." Their priests were called 

Pity that the passage aboqt Butyls in Damascius's life of 
Isidorus, to which Professor W. ^.objert^n Smith has kindly given 
me a reference, is so scant J^nd indefinite. Many of ^hem were 
seen by Asclepiades, and by ^sidorns, pn the l^^banpn near 
HeliopoUs — /cal Ihtiv ttoXXA t&v Xc^^fievfov ffc^irvkicav fj ^^crvXtav, 
irepl &/ fiupCa reparoXoyel &^ia ^^Kxacrirr}^ aae/Sovoi)^. Westermann's 
version of this is : et (ait Asclepiades) vidisse multa b^aetylia vel 
baetyla, de quibus multa impio ore digna jactat (Didot's Classics, 
vol. X, 1862, pp. 129, 130.) 

One regrets not having particulars of what some of the fjLvpCa 
&^ta were ; but I am inclined to add here (as commentary) that 
the po(SXifrv^ or rvircu pf the Eleusinian mysteries was a mock- 
fight with stones in honour of Deniopho6n.* ** It would be very 
difficult to attempt now to penetrate the meaning of this," said 
F. Lenormant ; but I venture to suggest that it was in pious 
imitation of the war-in-heaven of the Qods who heaved ^ocks and 
flung celts at each other. (See the section on " Weapons of the 
Gods.") Just in the same way, the assault on c^id killing of the rex 
nemorensis, the sacrificing-priest (rex) of Diana in the Nenius near 
Aricia (now Riccia), by his challenger and successor, may have 
been a saored simulacruni of the victories of Jupiter over S^^Tumus, 
Kronos over Ours^nos, and Zeus in turn over Kronos. The 
rex-priests had been qriginally rex-kings, s^nd this particular 
master-butcher and prizefighter had always to be armed to guard 
his post and his life. There was also a lithobolia or stone-fight' at 

* Priscianus, Z. Z. p. 647 (Putsch.) and F. Lenormant. 

' Hesychius« Guignaut*s Creuzer, iii, 610, 1 109* ' Paus» ii, 32, 3. 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] Natural Magnets ; Meteorites ; Bith-^ls. "5 

the festival of Damia and Auxfeia at Troiz^n. From blows they 
got to words ; and in the similar festival of the same goddesses at 
Aigina the stones were replaced by offensive and jocular words* — 
coarse chaff in point of fact Similar schools of abuse were the 
gephurismoi at the return from the Eleusinian celebrations, and the 
st^nia of the Attic Thesmophoria, and that (comic and satirical) 
between men and women at the women's seven-day feast of 
D^m^t^r y[\\^i^ af Pell^n^.* Does this extract any fresh light out 
of the passage in Damascius ? 

I t^ke the following from Tke Times of 8th September 1891 : 
The Corean correspondent of a Japan paper gives an account of a curious 
popular practice in Corea. Kite-flying, which is universal in that country, 
ceases suddenly on the 1 5th of the first Corean month ; and the next day Stone- 
Fights take jts place as the chief public pastime. The first stone-fight of the 
present season ^t Seoul, the capital, was rather more disastrous than usual ; it 
is reported that six men were killed. 

If we regard these fights as ritualistic, coming as they do 
with the regylarity of the ecclesiastical seasons of Western 
calendars, so must we regard tjie flying of kites in the form of 
hawks as ritualistic too. And then this would sfeem to lend a real 
significance to the coming in and g[oing out of season of others of 
our own (possibly Cosmic) bpys' games, such as trundling the hoop, 
spinning the top, hop-Scotch, and so forth. 

B^th-fel must, it would seem, be simply taken ai^d treated ^ £l-dwelling, 
£ll-holder. It is tlje oi>ly neutra|, scientific, way to ^carter all controversial 
theori^ and their embarrassmei^ts. It is a word all the same as b6th-Dagon 
or bfith-Peor ; only that the Hebrews and their Christian issue fevoured fel, and 
made devils of the other gods. Thus the stone that w^s Jacob's pillow, and 
that he set up and oiled {Gen, xxviii, 18), and ca]led an £^l-container, is the same 
of which the messenger of the felohim in Gen, xxxi, 13, says to him ; " J am the 
god of the b6th-fel that you consecrated with oiling." 

B6th-fel was, as by jts name it ought to have been, the chief sanctuary of 
Israel in the North.' In the earlier name, Luz (almond-tree), of the place of 
Jacob's B6th-fel {Gen, xxviii, 19 ; xxxv, 6 j xlyiii, 3 ; fudges i, 23) we have the 
very ordinary junction of tree-worship and stone-worship on the same spot. 
We have even bull-worship (golden calf) added " jn Beth-pl " jn i Kings xii, 29, 
and ii Kings x, 29. 

Nothing can be more direct than the declaration of this stone-deity to 
Jacob: "I am the fel of b^th-fel" {Gen, xxxi, 13); but jt g^ves occasion for 

> Herod, v, 82. 

' Hesych. and Phot, {trnpnc^. Paus. vii, 27, 4. 

• Relig, of Semites, 229 

H 2 

Digitized by 


»i^ The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

lamenting the timidity of the Revised Version of the Bible, which here 
renders the first £l as "God." Throughout the Book (except in defer- 
ence to ancient caprice, in some very few instances) the Hebrew god-names 
AdonaY, fil, f:i-feli6n, fel-Shaddal, Eloah, Elohim, "Jah," "Jehovah," and so 
forth, are all concealed from our attention under the uniformity of this 
Teutonic and unrelated word God, assisted by the words Lord and Almighty. 
The American Revisers made a partial and ineffectual protest against this, 
as may be seen from their first remark in the Appendix to the English 
Revised Version. The Right Rev. Dr. Helhnuth has stated that ^"^ 
A7 (God), with or without an additional adjective or a term designating the deity 
(is for instance ^"^tt/ Shaddaiy Almighty) occurs 225 times ; and the poetical 
[and therefore perhaps older] fonn rH^M Eloah^ 57 times.* 

Some other passages where the word " god " is especially unfortunate arc : 
And God^ said to Jacob * Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there ' (fjen. xxxv, i). 
Samuel says to Saul (i Sam. x, 3) * Thou shalt come to the oak (or " terebinth "; 
of Tabor [= a hill], and there thou shalt meet with three men going up to God 
to Beth -el .... after that thou shalt come to the hill of God^ 

Herodian (v. 5) thus described the stone of Emesa called 
Elagabalus : '* In the temple there is seen a great stone, round at 
the base, pointed above, conical in form, and black in colour, which 
they say fell from heaven;" F. Lenormant, citing authorities,* 
explained the word as " elah-gahal (see also p. 94), the god of the 
mountain or le dieu montagne." Would it not be more satisfactory 
and direct to render it the Mountain-£l or Eloah? 

The singular Ashdrah, for the divine post or pole, has in the Hebrew sacred 
books its plural Ashfirim (as in Exodus xxxiv, 13 : "break down their altars, 
dash in pieces their obelisks, and cut down their Asherim"). And Eloah in like 
manner has its plural Elohim. May I suggest that Ash^rtm and Elohim are 

parallel words ; and that, bearing in mind the b^th-£l, the Elohim D^!/?J^ 
were stone-gods, just as the Ash^rim, were tree-gods ? This is firmly sup- 
ported by Deuteronomy xxxii, 15:" Jeshurun forsook Eloah which made him, 
and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation," Eloah is here "the Rock;" 
and to substitute for it the word " god " is to part with the meaning. Ash^rah 
seems to be formed from Asshur, as Eloah from £^1, though the roots of the 
two last are held to differ. (See also p. 196 infra:) 

Pr. E. G. King, D.D., shows "that God was worshipped by the Israelites 
under the name of A^ oj On up to the days of the captivity." Ip Rosea he 
renders as follows : iv, 15, " neither go up to beth-An " (Septuagint : rhy oUw 
*Ov) ; V. 8, " sound an alarm in beth-An (fV r^ ot*cy*Oi/) ; x, 5, " unto the calves 
of beth-An the Samarians (come with) fear ; " x, 8, " the high-places of An " 
(/3o)/*ol *Oi/) ; xii, 5, for beth-El read in Septuagint house of An. " I suggest," he 

* Biblical Thesaurus (1884), p. 2. See also the notes to the Revised Version pp. 
3 and 10, as to the expedient of capital letters ; and the statements at pp. vi and 681. 

' The Hebrew here b Elohim « the fels or the Eloahs, 

• Herodian v, 3, 10 ; Pliny Hist, Nat, xxxvi, 8. 

Digitized by 


Myihs,'\ Natural Magnets ; Meteorites; Beth-Els. "7 

writes " that th^ Septuagint has here preserved the right reading, and that beth^ 
On was the ancient name of Bethel." He also suggests that Amos (v. 5 and 
elsewhere) " only knew beth-El under the name beth- An, and that wherever 
the former name occurs in his writings it is due to later correction .... The 
modem name of Bethel is Beitin, which thus preserves the original form of the 
name." The Akkadian An (= heavens, god) had its Semitic form in Anu, as 
in Anammelech (read Anu-malik) = Anu-is-prince ; and the female counterpart 
of Anu was Anath. Thus we have the city beth-Anath twice (Josh, xix, 38; 

"The stone of the Sakrah which Allah (be he exalted and 
glorified) commanded Moses to institute as the Kiblah " of Jeru- 
salem, or direction to be faced at prayer, had the Aksa mosque, 
built round about it by Solomon — this is the Kubbat as Sakhrah 
or famous Dome of the Rock — Mahomet likewise at first recognised 
this Rock as his kiblah, but was afterwards commanded to substi- 
tute the Kaabah stone at Mecca,* This stone-worship lasts 
supreme to this day. 

The great mosque round the kaaba at Mecca is still called the 
Beit-Ullah, Allah-house; and the black stone is a pebble of 
basalt ij) set in a silver plate, and encrusted in one of the angles of 
the kaaba ; which is a quadrangular tower 1 1 metres 10 high, and 
covered-over with the well-known black stuff pall called the tob- 
el-kaaba, or shirt of the kaaba,* 

The €#crviro)/Mi or impression of Aphroditfi, which Byzantine writers pointed 
out on this Black Stone of Mecca,"* may be a similarity to the itrds over-distinctly 
shown on the conical stone of Elagabalus upon a celebrated (aureus) coin of 
the Emperor Uranius Antoninus.* This is significant as affording a very 
ancient link with the yoni- worship of India. 

** Svegder made a solemn vow to seek Godheim " (the home of 
the godes) " and Odinn the Old. He went with twelve " (zodiacal) 
" men through the world, and came to Tyrkland " (Troy was its 
chief town). "He came to a mansion called Stein, where there 
was" (? which was) "a stone as big as a large house. Svegder 
cast his eye on the stone, and saw a dwarf standing in the door, 
who called to him and told him to come in and he should see 
Odinn. Svegder ran into the stone, which instantly closed behind 
him, and he never came back."^ Here is a clear turning to stone, 

* Akkadian Genesis (1888), pp. I, 2, 3. 

' Nasir i-Khusrau's /(wrwo'. Pal. Pilgrims* Text See. (1888), pp. 27, 28, 43, 45. 
Sale's Koran, ch. ii, note /. ; ch. iii, note r. 

* Perrot and Chipiez, Art dans PAnt, iii, 316. 

* F. Lenormant, Z^//r^j Assyriol, ii, I26w 

' Saglio, Diet, dcs antiq. i, 644. • HeimsKrlngla (1889), vol. i, p. 285. 

Digitized by 


ii8 The Nigkt of the Gods. {Axis 

or an enclosing in stone, like Osiris in the tree ; and also a bfith-rll, 
a stone Odinn-house. 

When Halfdan the Black was drowned he was quartered ; the head being 
laid in a mound at Stein (stone), and the other parts in other mounds which 
have since been called Halfdan's mounds.^ This is a reminder of the cutting-up 
of Osiris. And if we here add on the Cymric legend of the head of Brin, the 
son of Llyr, being buried in a hill at Llundein,' we possibly get at the rationale 
of the ** London stone." 

I detect a curious survival of the animated stone in a Portuguese legend* A 
farmer was in the habit of weighting his harrow with a heavy squared stone, all 
unwitting that it was a Moorish woman compelled by mag^c to assume that 
shai>e. One day when driving the harrow, a voice in the air bade him break off 
a piece of the stone, carry it home, and then throw the rest into a deep pool in 
the river Sabor. This he did, and the fragment turned to a lump of pure gold 
in his house. 

F. Lenormant considered that the Semitic notions of the "beith- 
el," the y9atTi;Xo9, reached the Greeks in Crete from the Phoenicians. 
In the "certainly Cretan " legend of Rhea making Kronos swallow 
the stone, he saw a form of the Phoenician myth in which El (or ll), 
the god assimilated to Kronos, immolated his son. 

[The full references to the most exact authorities about this are impor- 
tant. Lenormant gives them : Orelli's Sanchon. 36 ; Euseb. Prap, evang. i, 
10, p. 40; iv, 16, p. 157 ; Euseb. Theophan. ii, 54 and 59 ; Porphyr. De abst. 
Cam, ii, 56 ; F. Lenormant, Leitres AssyrioL ii, 209 to 218. I add Lenormant's 
translation of Eusebius's report of Philo's translation of Sanchoniathon : La 
famine et la mortality ^tant survenues, Kronos sacrifia k son p^re Ouranos son 
fils unique ; il se circoncit luim^me, et il ordonne k tous les soldats de son 
arm^e de faire la m^me chose. According to the same version of Sanchoniathon 
Betulos (=B6th-Ul or beith-El) was the brother of Kronos.] 
He also considered that this legend of the infancy of Zeus is the 
sole example of the introduction of the Semitic baitulos into the 
general Greek mythology, although baitulia are to be traced in 
particular local cults. 

I think the Roman manalis lapis veritably meant the anima-ted, 
the manes-having stone. It was thought to be the stone-gate of 
Orcus by which the animae below, who are called manes, ascended 
{Festus), It was near the temple of Mars outside the Capena gate, 
and was drawn through the city in droughts, in order to bring rain. 
(They do the same with a statue of the Virgin among the Cypriot 
Greeks of Nikosia at this day.) This may have been from the 

' HHmsKringla (1889), vol. i, p. 341. 

' J. Lolh, Les Mabinogion (1889), i, 90. 

' Round the Calendar in Portugal, by Oswald Crawfurd, 1890. 

Digitized by 


Myths.] Natural Magnets; Meteorites; Bct/i-Els. "9 

fancied connexion of manalis with mano, flow, which also induced 
Festus and Varro to explain a manalis fons as an ever-flowing foun- 
tain, which is dull nonsense. All Eastern wells hold jinn; as every 
boy who has ever read The Thousand and One knows. [May I 
here throw in my bracketing of manes with maneo, because of their 
perineo^ence?] As to Orcus, Verrius said that this god's name 
among the ancients was Urgus, because he urges us most, maxime 
nos ui^;eat {Festus). He was in fact, as my theories maintain, the 
ufger oi the universe, the god of the machine. And I now employ 
him to urge that theory, and to aid in explaining AfjjiiOvfyyo^ or 
A«/ttOv/yyo9 or Af)fiiO€pyc<; (S^/ao? = earth). Orcus was a god of 
Truth, like all the polar gods ; he guaranteed oaths and avenged 
perjury. LukoUrgos or LukOurgos is a cognate word. 

Recalling to the Reader's attention what I have said as to \aa^ 
under the heading of " Divine names in pal- " (p. 48), and taking up 
the myth of DeuKali6n's creation of men out of stones, I even go 
so far as to suggest that Xao^ means people because of 7JSia<: being 
a stone-god ; peoples everywhere calling themselves after their 
gods. And this I theorise to be (when coupled with the idea of the 
•* animated stones ") the Ding an Sich of the stones, cast by Deu- 
Kali6n and Purra overhead, turning into men and women. In 
fact this derivation of Xao9 has been staring us in the face at least 
ever since Apollodoros* wrote : 50€P xal Xaol /iera^o^t/ccov o>vofida' 
Offcap airo rov XcUi^f o XWo^. 

MeneLas or MeneLaos must it is presumed be treated in the 
same way. The old explanation of his name (from fLivoo remain, 
and X«o9 people) €is * support of the people ' is insufficient. I 
suggest Lasting-stone, * rock of ages' in fact His 'brother' was 
a divine person, a force if you will, in Ag*, AgaMemnon, where the 
same idea of permanence is given in jiifLvw remain. AgaMemnon 
(it was a title of Zeus) = Eternal-urger ? Their uncle Atreus 
{i'Tpiw) = Immoveable, unshakeable (in^branlable). The father 
Pleisthen^ should mean (ttXcZo^, adhosi) complete-strength ; but 
irXriiivf) = nave of wheel. He was son of Pelops ; and Tantalos 
was a hear relation. As to <rn}-Xo9, see the heading " Magnus," 
where (under MeDousa, p. 144) I make it standing-stone ; X09 
being = Xa9, Xao9, Xoa?, stone. There was also a Plistenus who 
shared with his brother Faustulus the rearing of Romulus and 
Remus. See also TaLaos, p. 134, and AtLas under the heading of 

» BibL i, 7i 2, 6w . 

Digitized by 


120 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

" The Mountain," in vol. 2. There is also, of course, a long list 
of such stone-gods in Lao-, for which the reader has only to turn 
to a mythological index. Such are Lao-Dik^, Dokos, Goras, 
Gord, Nutos, Phont^, Tho^, Tho6s, and so on. 

It is impossible to be satisfied with the explanation of Apollo 
'Ayvcev^ or 'Ayvtdrrj^ as " the protector of the streets," a sort of 
watchman or policeman. We must go farther back to get at the 
supernal origin which, as I conceive, is indicated with sufficiency 
in the word ay-viA. Here, I suggest, we have the Latin uia a 
way ; and the particular way meant is the great Way of the Gods, 
the Shin-T6 or Kami no Michi of Japan. It may also point to the 
Via Lactea. In ofyvicL we have besides the syllable Ag- which 
denotes the impelling of the universe, and about which so much is 
said in this Inquiry, It was from this Way that Apollo descended 
into the streets, and the very name of the stones put up to this 
^KyviaTT]^ at the house-doors, the street-doors, 0/9701 X/^ot, clearly 
denotes, for anyone who follows me in making Argos the bright 
heavens (see Index), the celestial nature of these stone-symbols, 
which were a round or a square pillar, diminishing towards the top.^ 
On these, sweet-smelling oils were poured, just as sacred stones 
were smeared in Arabia. This pillar was the altar or /8a>/i09 ayviev^ 
mentioned often by ancient authors. 

Other argoi lithoi were the sacred stones of implacability (dvaibcias) and of 
injury (vfip€o>s), of which the remains are still traced — so it is thought^-on the 
platform of the areopagus at Athens. On the first the accuser, on the other the 
accused, placed his foot ; a sort of swearing by Jupiter with a stone to the truth 
of their case. The judges also voted with stones which they dropped in the 

E. Saglio*s derivation of 'Apyoi XLdov from a -f ipyoi, unworked 
stones,* as contrasted with the agalmata, cannot now be accepted 
for one moment They are simply stones from Argos, from the 
heavens ; meteors, aerolites. TA hk en irdXaiSrepa koI to?v ira<riv 
''EXXiyo't TifjLct,^ 0€&v avrX arfoX^drcDV etxpv ^Apyol AtOot (Paus. vii, 
22, 4). Pausanias (iii, 22, i) also calls an Argos lithos the stone 
called Zeus Kapp6tas (or Katapaut^s, the Appeaser) at Gythium 
(Guthion) in Laconia, on which Orestes sat to be cured of his mad- 
ness. He also (x, 24, 6) indicated the stone at Delphi which 
Kronos had swallowed for Zeus. It was oiled and swaddled. 
Rome also claimed to have this same stone (which Rhea had 

* Bekker, Anecd. p. 331. ' DicL des antiq, i, 413. 

Digitized by 


Myths."] Natural Magnets ; Meteorites ; Bcth-Els. '^i 

given to Saturn) in the shapeless stone of Jupiter Terminus which 
stood on the capitol.* The catalogue of the other holy stones seen 
by Pausanias is : H^raKl^s, in his temple at Hyettos in Boidtia — 
the stone represented the god ; three stones, fallen from heaven^ 
adored in the temple of the Charites or Graces at Orchomenos in 
Boidtia ; at Thespiai (Argos was bom there, and the Muses were 
called Thespian) or Thespeia or Thespeiai (which give us a parallel 
name to Thebes ? ) a stone was the most ancient and revered image 
of Erds ; at Pharai or Ph^rai in Achaia Pausanias further recorded 
the Thirty (compare the tri-decades of Hindu g:ods) squared stones 
which were the symbols of thirty gods ; at Tegea (Atalanta was 
called Tegeatis) ; in Arcadia Zeus Teleios was represented by a 
squared stone* ; and Pausanias gave others, which are mentioned 
here under the heads of the Pillar and the Pyramid. At Cyzicum 
(Kuzikos) was a triangular block " the work of a primitive age," 
which was a gift of Athen^.' 

Actaeon (Aktai6n) when weary of the chase, slept on a stone 
near a fountain not far from Megara in Boi6tia.* They say, wrote 
Clemens of Alexandria,* that at Delphi a stone was shown beside 
the Oracle, on which it is said the first Sibyl sat, who came from 

Apollonius Rhodius mentions the setting up of a stone as holy 
(as was right) in the temple of Athene who was with lesdn (lason).* 
He also describes how the altar of Ar^s stands outside the roofless 
temple built of small stones {<md<ov). Within is a black stone 
planted, the holystone to which the Amazons prayed (ii, 1 171). 
This recalls the Phoenician Giganteja at Malta. 

At Palaio-kastro (Oldcastle) on the south slopes of the earthly Mount Pelion 
is a place still called Mavri-Pdtrais (Black-stones) where M. Alfred M^zi^res 
found nothing but shapeless stones (des pierres informes)J 

Ephesos could still be described in the time of Saint Paul as " a 
worshipper of the great goddess," that is the great Mother-goddess 
Cybel^. There, and at Pessinus in Phrygia, she was adored under 
the form of a black and rugged meteoric stone which had fallen 
from heaven.® 

One of the chief gods of the Aramean peoples was Qa^iou (so 

^ Lactantius, Div, Inst, i, 20. 

* Paus. ix, 24, 3 ; 38, I ; 27, I ; vii, 22, 4 ; viii, 48, 4. • Anth. pal, vi, 342. 

* Paus. ix, 2, 24. ' Stromaia^ i, ch. xv. 

• Argon, i, 960. 7 /> P^lwn et tOssa^ Paris (1853), p. 17. 

• Prof. Sayce, Hittites^ p. 113. 

Digitized by 


I" The Night of the Gods, {Axis 

F. Lenormant wrote it) the aerolite god, as his name indicates ; 
and he was adored in many places as a mountain-god. The 
Greeks turned him into a Zeus Kasios. At Selucia in Syria he 
was a heavens fallen conical stone, and he was thus also confused 
with Zeus Keraunios. Mount Casius near Antioch was one of the 
seats of Qa^iou, and was regarded by the people as the god himself. 
On the summit was a sacred enclosure and his open-^ir altar with- 
out a temple. There Hadrian sacrificed. He was also worshipped 
at another Mount Casius at Pelusium (frontiers of Egypt and 
Palestine) where his idol was a young man holding a pomegranate, 
the symbol of the god Rimm6n.* 

Sir A. H. Layard in Nineveh and Babylon (p. 539) engraves a 
British Museum Babylonian cylinder which shows 
" a priest wearing the sacrificial dress standing at a 
table, before an altar bearing a crescent, and a smaller 
altar on which stands a cock." I reproduce the 
" table," as accurately as I can ; and ask if we are 
to see in it a b^th-£l, and whether it is not placed on a pillar 
standing on a mountain. 

F. Lenormant (referring to the notes of Villoison on Cornufus 
De natur, deor. (Osann.) pp. 245, 280) said that the Greeks assigned 
cubic stones to Cyb^l^ and parallelopipeds to Hermes. Thus did 
the cube-shaped temple even come to be regarded itself as the 
divine image ;* a true beth-fel or £ll-house indeed ; which connects 
us with today's kaaba (see p. 117). The Semites, he said, gave 
rectangular stones (Petra and elsewhere in Nabatene) to the god 
Dusares and to the goddess Alath or Allftt These last were 
multiplied numerously among the Arabs, as Herodotus, Max- 
imus of Tyre and Clemens of Alexandria recorded. They were 
called ansabf and Musulman authors related that whilst they were 
divine images, victims were sometimes killed on them or they were 
at least daubed with their blood, which Herodotus and Porphyry 
also told. In the 6th century of our era Antoninus Martyr {Itin, 
38) saw the neighbouring Saracens adore a stone on Mount Horeb, 
as the simulacrum of a lunar deity. 

Among other famous stones were the lapides qui divi dicuntur 
at Seleucia ; the seven black stones at Uruk which typified the 
seven chief gods, the mystic Ka^eipoi or Great Ones ; * and it may 

* F. Lenoimant in Saglio's DicL i, 935. 

* F. Lenormant, Lettres AssyrioL ii, 306. ' Conder's Heih and Moab^ pp. 210, 209. 

Digitized by 


My0s.^ Natural Magnets; Meteorites ; BHIi-^ls. 123 

turn out that all such black sacred stones were natural magnets or 
aerolites. Jacob's memorial stone or b^th-El was made a metzebah 
or massebah, which is rendered pillar in the English.* 

Others were, among the Israelites, the witness pillar of Mizpeh ; the 
memorial pillar over RachePs grave ; Joshua's pillar under the oak at Shechem, 
in memory of the oath taken to serve Jehovah ; the stones of Bethshemesh, 
Ezel, and Ebenezer. Saul and Absalom erected each a hand or memorial 
cippus, and Josiah found such pillars at Bethel. The pillars or cippi erected 
by the Canaanites, and connected with the worship of Baal, were destroyed by the 
reforming kings Hezekiah and Josiah. " Standing images," " images of stone,"' 
are forbidden in Leviticus (xxvi, i). The sacred character of the pillar among 
Israelites and Canaanites alike is sufficiently illustrated. The Nabatheans 
at Petra worshipped a black stone about four feet high and two square, 
called Dhu Shera, Lord of Desire.* The Ansdb or Menhirs are specially con- 
demned in the Korin (Sura v, 92). " Smeared stones " — that is anointed — are 
often found in Syria. One Menhir group of about 1 50 dolmens is called el 
Mareighit, the smeared.* 

" A perforated stone to which the Jews come every year and anoint it " is 
mentioned at Jerusalem by the Bordeaux pilgrim* (333 a.d. ?) and by no one 
else. . "The 12 stones which the children of Israel brought out of Jordan" are 
mentioned at the site of Jericho by the same pilgrim.* Arculfus in a.d. 670 
"saw six of them lying on the right of the church in Galgal, and an equal 
number on the north side."« Outside the walls of Caesarea, the Cites de 
Jherusalem (1187 A.D.) described "a very fair stone of marble, great and long, 
which is called the Table of Jesus Christ ; and there are twolitde stones which 
are round, large below and pointed above, which are called the Candlesticks of 
our Lord."' 

Theophrastus {Char. 16) depicted the superstitious who were 
scrupulous to pour oil on the stones of the cross-roads and to bend 
the knee to them ; and Socrates® talked of the ultra devout who 
adored all the stones, all the stocks, and all the animals they met 
Lucian also {Pseudom, 30) exhibits a man who bows and prays 
to the stones he sees oiled and hung with wreaths. " What was 
not my blindness!" confesses the christened Amobius,* "when 
I perceived a stone running with oil of olives, I invoked it, I 
addressed it praise and prayers, I adored it as a divinity ! " 

Finn Magniissen said^® that in parts of the Norwegian Alps the 
peasants until the end of the i8th century enshrined and 

* Conder's Heth and Moab^ pp. 210, 209. 

* In the Revised Version, "pillar" or obelisk, and "figured stone." 

• Conder's Heth and Moaby pp. 211, 255, 258. 
< PaL Pilgrims* Text Soc. (1887), pp. 22, 26. 

» Ibid, pp. 22, 26. • Ibid, (1889), p. 36. 

' Ibid, (1888), p. 32. * Xenophon, Memor. i, I, 14. 

• Advers, naiionesy i, 39. ^ Antialer for Nordisk Oidkyudighed {i^-fi-^), p. 133. 

Digitized by 


124 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

worshipped round stones. Every Thursday evening they washed 
them, anointed them at the fire with butter, and placed them in 
fresh straw in the seat of honour at the head of the table. At 
times they washed them in whey, and at the winter solstice in 
beer. -__«..^_« 

At the consecration of the hofy oils in the Roman Pontifical, there must be 
a bishop, 12 priests fiilly vested, 7 deacons, 7 subdeacons, and many other 
assistants. This is " a vestige of the ancient discipline ; and ancient usages 
usually maintain themselves without much change in the great ceremonies."* 
All breathe thrice on the oils. This ceremony was certainly in use as early as 
the 6th century ; and " we know not of its commencement " — the memory 
and tradition of the Church run not to the contrary. In the blessing of a bell 
7 unctions are made with the Oil on the outside, and 4 with Chrism on the inside 
as the sound should be heard to the 4 quarters. 

" Since a long time ago the Church forbids the offering of the 
holy Sacrifice [of the "Mass] elsewhere than on an altar of stone."* 
Portable stone altars for Mass are first found mentioned by Bede 
{Hist V. II) in the 7th century. Hincmar, archbishop of Reims, 
writes of them in the 9th century. Do we find a reminiscence of 
the origin in the Lavabo of the Mass, where we read : ** circumA^k^o 
altare tuum, Domine .... Domine, dilexi domAs tuae, et 
locum habitationis gloriae tuae ? "* Domus and habitatio domini 
are straight equivalents of B^th-El. The priest kisses the altar at 
least thrice during the Mass. 

The canons say that an altar should be of stone ; altare debet esse lapideum, 
If the altar is not wholly of stone, but of wood for example, it suffices that theie 
be an altarlet (altariolus) of stone or a lapis sacratus, holy stone, in it. This the 
Roman Ordo calls a tabula itineraria, or a viaticum, or an antimensium. It is 
in fact a portable stone altar, without which no priest can celebrate unless by 
Papal dispensation, which, for example, is accorded to missionaries in cases of 
absolute necessity.* 

In the Gallican ritual (which was in use certainly as far back 
as the 8th century) the bishop, at the consecration of a new church, 
makes with holy-water, in which some chrism has been dropped, 
the mortar for cementing or sealing-up the altar-stone.* Under 
the stone are first placed the relics of the saint, and the stone is 
then thrice over anointed in the middle and at the four corners.* 
This insertion of the relics, to actually represent a canonised 
saint-in-heaven, was, I suggest, at first a substitution for the pagan 

* Montpellier Catechisme (1751), iii, 255 to 266. ' Ibid, iii, 129. 
' Psalm XXV (English xxvi ; habitatio — tabernacle in R.V.). 

* HieroUxicon (Roma 1677), pp. 25, 26. 

* Duchesne: Orig, du Culte Chretien (1889), P- 39»- * I^i<f^ 392, 397, 468. 

Digitized by 


Jlfy^As.] Natiwal Magnets; Meteorites ; Bith-^ls. "5 

god (id est Christian devil) who was believed to reside in, to 
animate, the stone ( — and may even have been to oust, to eject, to 
cast out that devil). And so the altar-stone is still viewed as 
the tombstone of the saint^ It is a sort of lesser or ** little beth- 
el " in point of fact. 

In the Syriac version of the Theophania (ii, 62) attributed to Eusebius,* it is 
stated that " the Dumatians (Doumatioi) of Arabia sacrificed a boy annually. 
Him they buried beneath the altar, and this they used as an IdoL" 

The Gallican bishop in the lustration of the new altar makes 
crosses at the four angles with holy lustral water, and then walks 
seven times round the altar, sprinkling it from a bunch of hyssop 
with the same water.' It seems very important for my arguments 
that an antiphon sung during the ceremony of the anointing is : 
" Erexit Jacob lapidem in titulum, fundens oleum desuper," etc. ;* 
and that during the unctions a priest continually walks round the 
altar fumigating it with incen^^.* (But my reader will not be able 
to give its full weight to this until the section on " Circular Wor- 
ship *' is reached.) The bishop finally places ignited burning 
incense on the altar in the shape of a cross, which is an obvious 
perpetuation, and celebration onge-for-all, of the burnt oflTerings pp 
pre-Christian altars.* In the Byzantine ritual the altar-stone is 
sometimes cemented on to supporting pillars by the bishop, some-? 
times on to a solid base ; and it is washed first with baptismal 
water and then with wine, and then anointed with chrism, {xvpov^ 

The bruxa^ are the evil-spirits or winches of Portugal. Some people always 
wear as a protection against them a little bag which hangs round the peck by ^ 
string and contains a chip of stone from an altar, a bayleaf, a leaf of rue and of 
the olive, and a sprig of the Herva da Injeva,** 

The legend of the adjective " Venerabilis " in Bede's name — which has just 
been cited as an excellent authority —deserves recording in tjiis section op 
animated stones. Two stories are told. In the first, Bede is blind and is taken 
by some scoffer in bad faith into a certain valley to preach, where there was 
nothing to preach to but the stones around. When he ended his sermon with 
the words per omnia saecula saeculorum, the stones reverberated "Amen, 
Venerabilis Pater." Others added that the angels said over and above " Ben^ 
dixisti Venerabilis Pater." The other tale is that after Bede's holy death s^ 
certain cleric, having to cut his epitaph on a stone, began thus : Hac sunt in 
fossa, lEjut he could think of no other words to add than Bedae ossa, which 
would not make a scanning versp ; and there he stuck. Tired with cudgelling 

" Duchesne: Ori^, du Culte Chritien (1889), p. 392. 

' Dr. S. Lee's translation, 1843, P- ^22. » Duchesne, 396. 

^ See Genesis xxxv, 15. ' Duchesne, 397. ® Ibids 398. 

' Ibid, 401. • O. Crawfurd's Kound the Calendar in Portugal, P- 9>. 

Digitized by 


126 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

his brains he fell asleep, and when he awoke he found the stone cut by angels 

with : 

Hac sunt in fossa Bedae Venerabilis ossju? 

We have talking stones also in the Arabian Night's tale of the Peri Banu. 

They have been men, which is a reversion of the Deuk^lidn myth. 1^ umbers of 

Greek deities are changed to stone (see Index). 

There are a black lake, a black precipice, and a Black Stqne qf the Swarthy 
— Llyn Pur, Clogwyn Dur, ar>d Maen Dur Arddu — near Lower Llanberris ;' 
and I have come across the (fallen) worship of the Black Stone in an out-of-the- 
way place. In Kilian's Flemish-Latin etymological dictionary, 1 574, under the 
word Alve, is given from some nameless rhymester a long catalogue of all the 
terms for demons known to the writer. Among these figures " zwarte Piet," 
black Pete, But it is obvigus that Peter has naught to dp here expept, as in 
saltpetre (sal petrae), in the sense of rock, stone. " Zwarte piet " is thus simply 
the Black Stone of ancient stone-worship. Qddly eijough this Ipads me to an 
explanation of the word Pet in the " Pet au Diable ^* of the qctave Ixxviii of Villon's 
Grand Testament, There was a to\yer of the Pejt au Diable in the enclosure of 
Philippe-Auguste in Paris ; but the clever and learned Villopist M. Marcel 
Schwob has actually discovered propf of a stone pf that nanie, and has kindly 
comn>unicated to me the following particulars on the subject. 

In 1453 some 30 or 40 student^ were arrested in Paris for an upji^^ual out- 
burst. In the criminal registers of the parliament of Paris le Liieutenant 
Crimiijel deppses, on 9th May, 1453, que plusieurs escoliers opt fait plusieiirs 
grains exc^s ; comme .... ont arrachd une pierre appelj^e Pet-au-Diable 
de Fostel d'une damoiselle de ceste ville qui faisoit bourne ; et [Font] pprtde au 
Mont Saint- Hilaire . . . Derechief ont est^ querir en Tostel de ladite 
damoiselle une autre pierre qu'elle avoit fait mettre . , . ppt atachi^ 
. . . la dite grosse pierre QM Mont Sainte-Geneviefye j et toutes les nuyts y 
ont fait danses k fieutes et k bedons . . . . eX d la grosse pierre ont baiUi^ 
ung chapeau tous les dimanches et autres festes. Et quaint le Prevost et lui 
[le Lieutenant Criminel] y al^rent pour I'avoir, [la pjerfe] avojt upg chapeau de 

It seems to me most likely that the original fundamental meaning of this 
<P^/-au-Diable was the Devil's Stone | and that the students' racket was a survival 
of some older saturnalia in stone-worship. 

Students also played high jinks at a ** Druidical stone " near Poitiers ; a 
feet which Rabelais (ii, 5) dressed up thus : De fait vjnt [Pantagruel] k Poictiers 
pour estudier, et y profita beaucoup. Auquel lieu voyant que les escoliers estoient 
aucunes fois de loisir, et ne savoient k quoy passer temps, il en eut compassion. 
Et un jour prit, d'un grand rochier qu'pn nomme Passelourdin, une grosse roche 
ayant environ de douze toises en carr^, et d'epaisseur quatorze pans, et la mit sur 
quatre pilliers au milieu d'un champ, bien k son aise ; afin que lesdits escoliers, 
quand ilz ne sauroient autre chose faire, passassent temps k monter sur ladite 

^ Hierolexicon (Roma 1677), p. 649. See also p. 141 infra, 
* Prof. Rhjs in XlXth Century, Oct. 1891, p. 568. 

X Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

MythsT)^ Natural Magnets ; Meteorites ; BHh-Els. 127 

pierre, et Ik banqueter k force flaccons jambons et pastds, et escrire leurs noms 
dessus avec un cousteau ; et de present I'appelle-on la Pierre Lev^e. Et en 
memoire de ce, n'est aujourd'huy pass^ aucun en la matricule de ladite university 
de Poictiers sinon qu'il ait beu en la Fontaine caballine* de Croustelles, passd 
k Passelourdin,' et montd sur la Pierre Lev^e.* 

In Brinton's Annals of the Cakchiquels of Cei^tral America there is an 
important, mysterious, primeval and animated obsjdian stone. The Mexican 
goddess Citlalicue gave birth to a flint-knife which was flung down from heaven 
and became 1,^00 gods. 

Mr. J. P. Bro^yn in hi§ book on The Dervishes (Triibner, 1868) 
gave the following information (in the larger type) : The Ruf^i 
dervisl^es (^nd ^Iso the kadiri of Cyprus), our " howling dervishes,^' 
we^r Zf "stone qf contentment" kan^'at t^shi, in the middle of 
their belts. 

It is thus at the Omphalos, and deserves especial notice in reference to my 
theories about the © symbol. It is either a round or a twelve-cornered stone \ 
and the girdle in which it is worn is called the taibend, not the kamberieh. 
This stone seems tp be also called a pelenk. 

In the girdle of the Bekt^Lshi is a seven-pointed stone, th^ 

So Mr. Browp, p. 145 ; but on the most careful examination and cross-examina- 
tion of Mevlevi and BektishJ dervishes in Cyprus, with the kind help of the 
Island Treasurer, Mr. Frank G. Glossop, no trace whatever of a seven-angled 
stone can be obtained ; although I have secured specimens of every stone worn, 
through the agency of a Turkish gentleman who got them for me with great 
difliculty in ^tambfil 

And there is another round or oblong crystal stone, the nejef, which 
is worn by any deryish, but the Bekt&shi are more particular in 
wearing it 

This stone is either an ^%% or pear shaped agate (the pelenk kamberieh) or an 
elongated crystal octahedron (the nejef kamberieh). I have a specimen of 
each, mounted in silver, and hung by strong silken cords. 
Nejef is the name of the mine or quarry whence the stone so- 
called comes, and it is held to contain a sign of the hair of Hussein. 
It is tied round the waist with the three-knotted cord called kam- 
berieh, which denotes a follower of AH. The stone, say these 
dervishes, which Moses wore he called dervish-dervishdn, and it had 

' A hors<e-fom^tain, like Hippokr^n6, at Croustelles near Poitiers. 

* Belleforest also mentiops this in his Bandello*s 32nd Tale : ** pass^ sur le roc 
Passe- Lourdip ^ Poictiers pour se bien former la cervelle." 

* Engraved in the Mc^asin pittoresqtu for January 1845, ^'^"^ Georges Braun*s 
Tfuatrum urbium^ as seen at the close of the 1 6th century. Several students are seen 
on the stone. 

Digitized by 



The Night of the Gods. 


twelve holes [compare the breast-plate of Aaron. I. O'N.]. The 

Bektisht have yet another stone, worn round the neck, the teslim 

t&shi or stone of submission to the twelve Imims. The cord which 

passes through the teslim t^shi is connected by passing the nejef 

through its ends, and then fastening round the waist to the kam- 


These stones are also twelve-angled —everything in the order, says a Bekt4shi, 

is twelve. The larger stone is the teslim tishi bilim ; the smaller is called the 

teslim tishi simply. I give full-sized superposed half-outlines of these, and of 

the kani'at tdshi ; with their weights. 

The stone of the Bekt^shi's convent-hall is eight-angled, and 

has a candle in its centre or Eye. Upon it the postulant is received 

into the Path. 

As to this I have no corroboration. 


Crystal Teslim tishi of the Bektishi dervishes. Weight as mounted 
67 granmies. The dotted lines a show the tubular transverse hole of 

2. Greenish agate. Teslim tAshibAlim of the Bektishi. Weight as mounted 

196 grammes. Dotted lines b as No. i. 

3. Whitish agate, with round suspension hole through the middle, r. (This 

hole, as drawn, only belongs to this biggest stone). There is no 
transverse piercing. Weight unmounted 394 grammes. 
[Average thickness of Nos. i and 2 is 10 decimetres. Of fJo. 3, 12 deci- 

Digitized by 


Myths,^ The Loadstone Mountain. 129 

10. — The Loadstone Mountain. 

THERE IS a curious Orissa legend about the temple of Kandrak 
(Black-pagoda). In front of the gate stands an octagonal 
pillar of black stone, fifty ^^^r (yards) high. The numerous ship- 
wrecks on the coast of the Bay of Bengal near Kan^rak were 
assigned by the legeftd to a " huge lodestone, kumbha-pithar, on 
the summit of the tower," which drew the vessels on the sands 
until " a musalmdn crew scaled the temple " \i,e, the tower of the 
temple ?] and carried off the magnet^ This is a variant of the 
loadstone mountain in Sindbad's voyages, and in the legend of 
Oger le Danois.* Another is the Monte Calamitico, the mediaeval 
magnetic Northern mountain in the Ocean, told of by Olaus 
Magnus' and referred to in Humboldt's Cosmos (ii, 659 ; v, 55). 

Monte Calamitico {see also p. 106 supra) must mean Calamitous Mountain, 
unless it means Calamus or Reed Mountain, which is not impossible. Calamita 
is still the name for the magnet in Italian, and Littrd says that was because the 
magnetic needle was put in a reed to float on the water. KeLKaiilra in modem 
Greek may be lingua Franca, but Kaka}jMs was equally a reed in ancient Greek. 

I believe ttJ^^H khallimtsh means a hard stone or rock, and that HtO'^bp 
kalammitah, which is found for the magnet in ancient Jewish prayers, may be 
European.^ As for pursuing the calamitous interpretation, it is not easy, and 
honestly I give it up. 

The myth was widespread. Innocent IV*senvoy brought back 
in 1246 a tale that the Caspian mountains were of adamantine 
stone, and drew unto them the iron arrows and weapons of the 
invading host of Jinghis Khan.^ Now all these seem to be natural- 
magnet and not meteoric myths. 

The Post Angela or the Athenian Mercury^ an old magazine published in 
1 701, in its "Answers to Correspondents*' had the following ; " Q. Why does 
the needle in the sea-compass always turn to the North ? A, The most received 
opinion is that there is under our North pole a huge black Rock, from under 
which the Ocean issueth in 4 currents answerable to the 4 comers of the 
Earth or 4 winds ; which rock is thought to be all of a Loadstone, so that by 
a kind of affinity it draweth all such like stones or other metals touched by them 
towards it" Here we have also the heavens-rivers, and the Four Points. 

* Hunter's Orissa^ pp. 289, seq. * Keary : Outlines of Prim, Beliefs^ 453. 
» I. B. della Porta, Magia Naturalis, 1651, p. 288. 

^ Klaprotb, La BoussoU^ I5» 24. 

* Hakluyt : Voy. of J. de Piano Carpini, ch. xiL 


Digitized by 


130 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

Klaproth quoted the following from the Nan-chuan i-weh chi^ 
"Notes on Southern Marvels," (of our nth century, or before): 
" At the capes and headlands of the chang hai (sea) the waters are 
shoal and there are many loadstones, so that if the great foreign 
ships which are clad with iron plates approach them, they are 
arrested, and none of them can pass by these places, which are said 
to be very numerous in the South sea." 

Note the ignorance here. The narrator of this North-polar fable clearly 
knew not that the South end of the magnet is repellent of iron ; and was 
following merely the Chinese name for the compass : " the wheel that shows 
the SouthP He is thus wrong toto coelo in feet 

It is strange that Ptolemy^ (first century ?) related almost the 
same thing of the same seas. His source must have been also that 
pf the Chinese tale. " They relate," he says, " that at the Manioles 
islands ships with iron bolts are arrested, and that for that reason 
they build ships with wooden pegs, so that the Heraklean stone 
which there grows may not attract them." 

In the De Martinis Brachmanorum? attributed to St. Ambrose 
(4th century), " the stone called Magnes is found at the 
Mammoles* islands. They say it attracts by its strength the 
nature of iron. Consequently if a ship which has iron nails draw 
near, it is there held, and can no more depart for other where, by I 
know not what hidden hinderment of this stone. For this reason 
they employ none but wooden pegs in the building of ships." 
These old lies must have partly arisen in a bad shot at the reason 
for the timber nails. 

In the Arabic Geography of Sherlf Edrisi,* " El Mandeb is a 
mountain surrounded on all sides by the sea, and highest on the 
Southern side [that is the side which looks South, as the Polar deity 
was bound to do]. A mountain which extends transversely on the 
South they call Muruk6in, and it is a continuous mass of rocks. 
The author of the Book of Wonders [odd reminder of the Chinese 
treatise] relates that no vessel furnished with iron nails can pass 
near this mountain without being drawn and retained by it, 
insomuch that the ship can never again escape therefrom." 
Elsewhere this Abu Abdallah Mohammed al Edrisi describes a 

• Geog, vii, 2. 

' Palladius, S. Ambrosius (et csetera) ; editio Bissteus. Londini, 1665, p. 59. 
■ See what is said p. 146 of Lydius as a name for the loadstone. Lyde, Avfti;* was 
great-breasted (Juvenal ii, 140). Lydise tumentes occurs in the Silvia of Statius i, 6, 7a 

* Written 1 1 53. Arabic, Rome 1592. French (Am^d^ Jaubert) 1836. 

Digitized by 


Myt/isJ] The Loadstone Mountain. 13^ 

great gulf extending towards the South, and a high mountain which 
forces voyagers out of their straight course. The mountain is 
called Adjerad [which may be for al jertd, the palm-stick, the Spear- 
mountain of the Universe], "whose flanks are furrowed on all 
sides by waters which fall with a terrific noise *' [which might be a 
straight description of the descent of the rivers of the Northern 
heavens-mountain]. " This mountain draws unto it the vessels 
that come near, and so mariners have a care to give it a wide 

In the Arabic treatise on Stones which pretended to be by 
Aristotle, "there is in the sea a mountain formed of this stone. If 
ships approach it they lose their nails and their ironwork, which 
separate of themselves and fly like birds towards the mountain, 
without the force of their cohesion [in the timbers] being able to 
retain them. .That is why they do not bolt-together with iron 
nails the ships that sail this sea, but employ for binding their parts 
ropes made of cocoatree fibres, which are then fastened with 
pegs of a soft wood that swells-up in the water." Another instance 
of the snapshot conjecture. This is found again in Vincent de 
Beauvais, who curiously quoted for it another apocryphal Book on 
Stones which he attributed to Galen.* 

In the French story of the Chevalier Berinus and his son 
Champion Aigres de TAimant, ships are drawn towards the huge 
Rock of Aimant, and adhere to it. An inscription on the rock 
says that if one man consents to remain behind, and then throws 
the Ring which is on the rock into the sea, the ships will be freed. 
The lot falls on Aigres, who subsequently escapes (on finding a 
substitute in another fleet of doom), and carries off a horse, a 
sword, and armour.* 

The mountain in the sixth voyage of Sindbad is a mass of 
treasure. All the stones that lie about are rock-crystal, rubies, 
emeralds and so forth. And a great river of soft-water runs from 
the sea into a dark grotto in the mountain, whose opening is 
extremely lofty and wide. In the Third Kalender*s story the 
Black Mountain is an aimant-mine which attracts the fleet of ships, 
because of their nails and ironworks, for two days before the 
catastrophe ; which ensues upon the drawing-out and flight to the 
moimtain of all the bolts that hold the keels together. All these 
irons strike the rock with a horrible noise and stick on to its 

* klaproth, La BoussoUy 1834, 123. • Clouston*s Pop, Tales , i, 104. 

I 2 

Digitized by 


132 The Night of the Gods, [Axis 

surface. The ships then fall to pieces, and their contents sink to 
the bottom of the plumbless deep. The whole seaside of the 
mountain is thus a mass of nails which preserve and augment its 
virtue. The mountain is very steep, and on its summit is a dome 
of bronze upheld by columns of bronze. On the top of the dome 
again, is a bronze horse bearing a rider who has a leaden plate on 
his breast covered with talismanic characters. This statue is the 
cause of the magnetism. 

[Must we not here detect some survival of a lott knowledge as to the 
electric action of pairs of metals ?] 

The stairway to the mountain-top is so narrow, steep, and difficult 
as to be all but impracticable by the one man who finds salvation, 
Ajib, the Kalender, son of Kassib. He, advised by a venerable 
Old Man in a dream, digs for a bronze bow and three arrows of 
lead made under certain constellations. These arrows he fires at 
the statue, and at the third bolt the horseman falls into the sea, 
the horse tumbles-dov/n, and is buried by order in the hole where 
the bow-and-arrows came from. The sea then rises to the top of 
the mountain, a man of bronze rows-up in a boat and saves Ajib, 
under the condition (announced by the Old Man) that he utter 
not the name of Allah. On the ninth day he does however 
say " Allah be blessed and praised," and the boat sinks under 

Here we clearly have (as the Reader will prove in the course of 
the Inquiry) the northern jewelled heavens-mountain and dome ; 
th * heavens-river ; the pillars of the heavens ; the central centaur- 
gods fallen from their high estate (because inimical to Allah) ; the 
Old Man of the Mountain ; the heavens-ladder or stairs ; and the 
heavens-boat — all subjects here necessarily treated-of before this 
Tale was here analysed. The bow and the ring, too, are of the 
commonest figures for the heavens. 

It is well known that there exist on the shores of the globe natural facts 
which furnish a commonplace foundation for this Loadstone-mountain legend. 
H.M.S. "Serpent" was totally wrecked in November 1890 off the Spanish 
coast near Camarinas, on a reef called Laja del Buey or Bullock's Ledge ; and 
an experienced officer of the Spanish admiralty, who knew the spot of the 
wreck well, said that the Serpent's compasses may have been disturbed by the 
vast masses of iron on the coast. She went down a few moments after she 
struck on th^ rocks, and only three sailors were cast ashore alive.* Great 
numbers of wrecks attributable to this cause take place on the North West 

* GaUand*s i^ooi Nuits^ Paris, 1806. « Morttin^ Post^ 14 Nov. 1890. 

Digitized by 


Myths^ The Loadstone Mountain, T33 

Spanish coasts ; and it is very noteworthy what an influence the enormous 
quantities of iron in some of the Galician mountains exercise on the needles of 
ships' compasses ; necessarily at a very considerable distance too. 

The earliest origin for this Metal Man on the Mountain that I 
have found is in the Argonautika of Apollonios of Rhodes 
(iv, 1638 etc). Brazen Tal6s prevents the Argo from mooring at 
the Diktaion haven by breaking-off rocks to hurl down from the 
hard cliff. He was a demigod of the brazen stock of men sprung 
from ash*trees (ji^Xi'q'yevitov). The son of Kronos gave him to 
Europa to be warden of Crete (K/ji^tt;) where he roamed with 
brazen feet (A Magnus incident which also clearly brackets him 
with CEdipus.) He was of brass unbreakable ; only at the ankle 
was a thinskinned vein of blood where lay the issues of life and 
death (an Achilles incident).* M^deia however bewitched the 
sight of brazen Talds with her evil eye ; and he scratched his ankle 
against the rock. Forth gushed the stream of life like molten lead ; 
and like some towering pine the mighty giant stood awhile upright 
on his tireless (iv, 1687) feet, then fell at last with weighty crash. 

[Here again we have the pair of metals ; and I think it is worthy of all 
notice that they were brass and lead, -f^akK^i and fioki^dos, while Volta made his 
pile of copper and zinc] 

In another myth of Tal6s, his uncle and master DaiDalos, the supreme 
architect (dpxi-^dicrmv tipurros) and first inventor of statues, jealous of his rivalry 
(a clear war-in-heaven) tast him down from the Acropolis,* or heavens-palace ; 
by fraud said Hellanikos (/rag: 82). 

Here we clearly have the Creator of the Universe making man, as is shown 
here imder the heading of " The Tree." DaiDalos also invented the drill which 
is worked by revolution (the centrebit), and Tal6s the potter's wheel and the 
turning lathe. These three rotating machines complete a connexion of both 
these divine powers with the inventor of the rotating machine of the Universe. 

I think we must inevitably take TaXa)9 to be identical with 
TaXao9, and that the origin of both stares us in the face in the 
second, which is TA-Aao9 = stretched-stone, that is tall-stone. 
Prof. Skeat having said in his Dictionary (to which I am through- 
out this Inquiry so deeply and widely indebted) that " further light 
is desired as to this difficult word, tall," I suggest that we have it 
here and in the Welsh and Cornish tal = high, tal cam = high 
rock, as well as in the Irish teal3ich a hillock. The French talus, 
too, still retains the sense of a steep. If there be anything in all 
this, it may afford us the true clue to talisman^ as originally a holy 
stone. The genealogy of DaiDalos and Talds was as follows : 

* See also ApolL BM i, 9, 26, 4. • Apoll. BM iii, 15, 8, 10, etc. 

Digitized by 


134 The Night of the Gods, [Axis 


ErechTheus=T= PraxiThea 

Meti6n =t= Alkippe 



Eupalainos:= ? 

{or Metioa =7= Iphino6) M6tiaDousa=^ Kekrops II 

(Kekrop I was 


Peniw =p ? PanDidn 11^ Pelia, dau. of Pulas 


^ n 71. 

I'y- vaiLuuo^ Kills laios incuewi T- Aigeus. Pall 

( ?)=jp PaiDaloi kills Tal6s M^Deia =t= Aigeus. Pal Las Nisos Lukos 

(see pp. 48, 49) 
Ikaros (The Pandionidae) 

V , f 

(line dies out) 


[Of course the pair named PanDidn and the pair named Kekrops must be 
taken as different accoimts and differing genealogies of the same primitive 
powers. Ikaros and Ikarios have been taken by many ancients to be the 

Atlas was a mountain as well as a personal god, and TaI6s was 
on a mountain, and it was standing-stones that were placed on 
mountain-tops as gods, or as their symbols ; as symbols (I main- 
tain) of tb€i axis-god. This completes the connection between 
uncle and nephew, between DaiDalos and Tal6s as stone-deities ; 
and TaLds-TaLaos is thus an axis-god, an AtLas ; being thus also 
an Upbearer, a Supporter, which sense we find in the analogous word 
TciXam ; and the idea of the necessary firmness of his base, of his 
brazen feet, we find again in the Latin talus, " the ankle, the lower 
part of the foot, the heel " — that is, clearly and broadly, the foot 

The connection with raXavroy, a balance, must thus be by the standard of 
the balance. Talea was also a small stake, a picket ; and here must be left for 
future exposition, or not, the cry (" as old as Romulus ") of Talassio I or 
Talassius I at nuptial ceremonies. It represented the 'Y/ii;v, £ vftcVme of the 
Greeks, and Martial (xii, 96, $) rendered it by copulatio. I think he wasn't far 
wrong. The " man named Talassius " in Festus was also on the spot 

The adjective tireless, aKafiaro^^ gives us another significance of 
the brazen feet in the myth — that is the walking or running, 
instead of the wheeling, round of the Universe ; and may indicate 
a devout theory antecedent to the discovery of the wheel. French 
still retains *^ U marche des astres," and in ornate English we have 

Digitized by 


Myths^ The Loadstone Mountain. 135 

not yet done with "the majestic prc^ess of the sprfieres." This 
indeed may be the true clue to the now hidden meaning of all the 
footprint legends which are so fully treated of under the heading 
- Buddha's Footprint" 

Thus we should have the Tal6s myth englobing (as the 
majority of myths do) a confusion of conceptions — of the firmly 
planted feet of the heavens-axis god, and of the tireless feet of the 
running-heavens god The ** tireless " idea we come upon again in 
the derivation (by the scholiast on Euripides) of Atlas from 
a-rTJiv un-fatiguable, which is dealt-with under "Atlas." The 
connection of Talds or Talaos with Atlas and EphiAltfis seems 

TanTalos seems to me to be a form of Talos, where t6v belongs to rm^ 
and means outstretched, or else is tw, Sir ; like Dan Sol, for example. In the 
first case, we should have TAN-TA-AoAr, where the first two root-syllables would 
be a reduplication ; for TA is now taken as = TAN, stretched. 

Mighty, fjJya<i, Talaos and Ar^ios (an Arte-name) came forth 
from Argos (the heavens) and were the sons of Bias.* Talaos was 
father of six sons (and a daughter who married AmphiAraos) 
among whom were M^kisteus (the longest or tallest, perhaps an 
Axis-name),' AristoMachos (best^mechanism) and Adrastos.* 
HippoMed6n (a central horse-god) was also, as others said,* a son 
of Talaos. The //tad (xxiii, 677) makes M^kisteus come to 
Thebes after the burial of OidiPous (with whom I have already 
bracketed Talds) and overcome all the sons of Kadmos. Melam- 
Pous (blackfoot) was brother of Bias* (and uncle of Talaos), so 
that the feet were, as we should expect, in the family ; and note, in 
reference to what I advance elsewhere as to Aiguptos being a 
celestial spot, that it was previously called the place (x^«) of 

Hesychius mentions Greek games In honour of Zeus Talaios. 
AmphiAraos, who killed Talaos (MelamPous also killed him), and 
so usurped the rule of Argos, has the Spear and Universe-tree in 
his myth. An eagle swoops down upon the lance, carries it off, and 
where it lets it fall again it sticks-in and becomes a laurel. The 
Earth opens and receives AmphiAraos with his chariot and his 
horses — a note, as I believe, of an axis-god. Talos was a partisan 
of Tumus, and was killed by iEneas. Here the connection with 

* Ar:pM. i, 118 ; ii, 63. * Might also - firj (mid) + Kicmj (see ** The Arcana"). 
» ApoU. 3iN, i, 9, 13. * /h'd, riS, 6, 3. • Vhertcydts/rag. 75. 

• Apoll. Bt'M. ii, I, 4, 5. 

Digitized by 



The Night of the Gods. 


Turnus (a turning-heavens god, as I maintain) again points to 
Talds as an axis or socket god. 

The name crops-up again in Dionysius of Halicaniassus (bk. ii) where the 
Sabine ToXXor rvpapos is mentioned as an ally of Tatius ; which confirms me in 
my connection of Taiius >^ith the axis ; for this name is merely an adjectival 
form of the above root-word TA, outstretched, tall. Festus also said Talus was 
a Sabine prename. Spenser revived Talus as an iron man in the Faery Queen 
(V, i). 

The connection of T^l^os with the island of Kr6t6 and thus with Tal6s may 
be made another way by his descent from Kr^Theus, as follows ; 









Peukalidn ^ Purra 

"Hellte y Orseis 

D6ros Aiolos (the 

windgod of 
Magnesia) ^F Enaret^ 

Sisuphos Athamas Magnus Peri^r^ 


=p Sahndneus (aad wife Sid^6) 

KrfTheus =? Tur6 =F Poseid6n 


(EarthGod ?) 

Ais6n Pher^ Amutha6n <f= Eidomene 





Ias6n AdM^tos 




Illos Mermeros Taiaos =t= Lusimach^ 

( = Marmor ?) 




Adrastos M^isteus it,rX, 

[It will be observed that D6ros a spear^axis-god, Aiolos the Ether-god of 
Magnesia, Magnus, Turd (a tower-axis-goddess?), Poseiddn, and Ias6n, arc all 
in this most respectable family. SalM6neus (? the salt one) may be a mere 

» Hcll^n was also son «• of Zeus " ( - Dies). 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Loadstone Mountain. 137 

alias of Poseid6n ; and Tur6's being the consort both of Poseid6n and Kr^Theus 
(Earth-god ?) could be interpreted as the axis extending from Earth to Cosmic 

There is one of the islands of Mailduin's voyage that seems to present us 
with some Cosmic allusions to the revolutions of the several spheres, and also 
to the myth of Tal6s. The island has a wall (the firmament ?) round it. An 
animal of vast size, with thick rough skin, runs round the island with the 
swiftness of the wind, and then betakes himself to a large flat stone on a high 
point, where he daily turns himself completely round and round within his skin 
which remains at rest Next he turns his skin continually round his body, down 
one side and up on the other like a milW'heel, but the body itself moves not 
Again, he whirls the skin of hjs upper half round and round like a flat-lying 
mill-stone, while the skin of the lower half remains without motion. When 
Mailduin and his companions, in terror of him, take to flight, he flings round 
stones at them,^ like the Kuklops at Odusseus. 

(See the section on " The River" for the loadstone at the bottom of the 
river Llinon, which makes it impossible to cross over in a keel.) 

* Dr. Joyce's Celtic Romances ^ 127, 128. 

Digitized by 


138 The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

r^ RETE. Plato in his explanation, or rather in his explaining- 

away of the Tal6s myth, gave the additional incident that 
Tal6s had to make the round of the island of Crete three times to 
engrave on brass the Law of Minds, Apollodoros^ said Tal6s ran 
thrice daily round the island, 'watching it Here we have the 
tireless feet again, and this brass is thus the brazen heavens, and 
the Law is the Tao, the Order, of the Universe ; and Kriti tftust 6e, 
like all the other similar mythic islands^ a figure of the Earth (see 
p, 33), If we admit this interpretation, it sheds a flood of light on 
the grand total of all the Cretan most archaic myths and worship. 
Note too that Crete was called Chthonia insula. 

And then where are we to search for the meaning of the word 
Kr6t^ ? The etymology ought also to give us that of the Latin 
creta chalk, which is at present a philologist's blind alley ; and 
I think the true sense is still to be tracked in our own word cu:crete ; 
for creta as a portion of the verb crescere to appear, surge-up, 
sprout, receive existence, be born (earliest meanings, which are 
confined to the poets), is just what we want. And we are thus not 
so very far off our own English create (as a past participle) and the 
Latin creata ; the root of all which is said to be kar to make ; but 
that sense does not embrace the appearing, surging-up, ideas. 

The Oldlrish ere clay does not seem to stand in the way here, but rather to 
help me out Mr. E. R. Wharton alleges cretus, the participle of cemo I 
separate ; but must we not see in this cretus and in cretus from cresco the 
identically same word ? 

Crete is thus the uprisen island, and the name of the island-god 
Crete-born "Zeus," Zai/ KpTjrayipTf^, takes a new and supreme 
significance. More than 2,000 years ago Herodotus (iii, 122) 
remarked that the Cretan Law-giver Min6s of Kn6ssos (where 
we must see gn6sis and knowledge) was anterior to the generations 
of men. This fully accords with Hesiod's saying that the King of 
Crete (Minds) was " the mightiest king of all mortals,'* and ruled 
with the sceptre of Zeus. The facts that his consort was PasiPha^ 
(= to-all-shine, the heavens), and that she was the daughter of 
Helios (not the sun ?) and Pers^is, also place him in a very high 
divine position, 

Askl^piadds gave Min6s for consort Kr6t6 the daughter of Asterios, which 
is also Cosmic and therefore genuine.* Kr^t^ was otherwise the daughter of 

» Bid/, i. 9, 26, 5. « Apoll. Bi6/, iii. i, 2, 6. 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] The Loadstone Mountain. 139 

Deukalidn.^ Note too that a place in Rhodes was called Kr^tSnia after her.' 
This gives us a connection between two of the Cosmic typical island-symbols of 
the Earth, Kr6t^ and Rodos (see " The Romaunt of the Rose " later on). 

The mythic Dorians (that is, as I theorise, the spear- axis gods) 
possessed the island of Crete (the Earth) in times later than those 
of Min6s (Herod, i, 173). If TaSaMai/^u? (-^09 or -Ba) his brother 
could be made into ToSaMai/^i;?, we should have the Wheel-Seer 
or magician (from fiavOavto^ fidvri^), and a connection with the 
wheel-island of Rhodes. It is thus quite natural to learn that 
the equally mythic LukoUrgos long dwelt in Crete, and adopted 
its Law.* Manthos then too becomes a parallel to the fraternal 
Kn6ssos. Plato* tells us that the laws of Crete, being inspired by 
Deity, could not be discussed by the immature. The fact that the 
ten chief magistrates were called kosmoi and their president 
the protokosmos is important, though we need not to lay too much 
stress on it The kosmoi all belonged to one family the Aithal^i, 
which name seems to indicate a fire^god's priesthood. Aithalid^s, 
the famous son of Hermfis and Eupolemeia was the swift (flame ? 
flash ?) herald of the Argona^ts* who transmigrated into Pytha- 

[Are not the isle of Aithalj^ in the Argona^itika (iv, 654), 
which seems to have escaped the scholiasts and commentators, and 
the puzzling passage about it, to be referred to Crete ?] 

But we must push on farther, and hope to fare no worse. 
Kp^?, Kprjaa-a, Cretan and Cretaness, contain the first syllable 
of crescere ; so does the adjective Kprjaio^;, which was applied to 
the Bacchus of Argos. Kprf^ the son of Z^n reigned in Crete, 
and according to one legend gave his name to the island, 
which is not too very^far off my etymology, which would lend 
somewhat of a new intensity to the epithet of Jupiter Crescens. 
There was a nymph Krfisdis. Pasiphad, sister of Kirk6 (the 
spindle), spouse of Min6s, and mother of AndroGeds (Man- 
Earth ?), was called Cressa bos.® And may not this etymology, 
too, unveil for us the true hidden meaning of the inexhaustible 
riches of Croesus, Kroisos, the Universe-King ? And we must take 
into this family of words Kpeovca, the spouse of I6s6n, and her 
father Kp^tov, King of K6piv0o9, And can creta chalk, the Cretan 
earth, have thus ever been the protoplast of the speculations of 

' ApolL Bi6L iii, 3, i. ' /did. iii, 2, I. « Plutarch, Lycnrg, 4. 

. y Leges I. D. 270, 31. ♦ ArgonantikSn, i, 54, 641, 649 ; iii, 174. 

• Propertius iv, 7, 57. 

Digitized by 


I40 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

" the ancients ? " Marl (marga, margila) was also so called. The 
use of creta in medicine had most probably a ritualistic origin. 

There are passages in the Argonaufika (iv, 1577) which I read 
as a possible relict of the Earthimyth of Crete : " Yonder sea, that 
has naught but air around {inrrjepLov) reaches above Crete to the 
divine land of Pelops."^ The realm of Pelops, as is oftqn pointed 
out here, is the heavens ; and the " sea " here is the Universe- 
ocean. Ag^in (iv, 1636) : ** Crete stands out above all other isles 
upon the sea." Again : ** As they were hasting o'er the wide gulf 
of Crete " [the Universe-ocean, as above] " night scared them, that 
night men call the shroud of gloom ... It was black chaos 
come from heaven, or haply thick gloom rising from the nethermost 
abyss."* This is the night-voyage of the darkest sky. 

[ISLAND, It ought to have been stated under the heading of "The Spear" 
that Irish myth affords a parallel to Japan's change of position (p. 32). The 
one-eyed or evil-eyed Northern giant-power Balar commands his Fomorian 
giants to " put cables round the island of Erin, which gives us so much trouble, 
and tie it at the stem of your ships ; then sail home, bringing the island with 
you, and place it on the North side of Lochlann."» The island of Fianchaire 
(Fincara = white-rock ?), too, lies not on the surface, but down deep in the 
waters, for it was sunk beneath the waves by a spell in times long past 

I should also have stated at p. 33 that in the voyage of Mailduin — which 
is in the nature of a Cosmic Argo voyage, as all the imrama seem to be — the 
island of Birds which are human souls is met with ; and the Aged Man of the 
island is covered all over with long white hair, and his account of the 
origin of the island is that he brought from Erin as ballast for his boat some 
sods of green turf, and then, " under the guidance of God I arrived at this spot ; 
and he fixed the sods in the sea for me, so that they formed a little island,** 
which grew bigger and bigger every year, and in which the Lord caused a 
single tree to spring up."* This is a parallel to the island KallistS (p. 33). 

" Then we came to the isle Aiolian where dwelt Aiolos son of HippoTas in 
a floating island. And all about it is a wall of bronze unbroken, and the cliff 
runs up sheer from the sea. His 12 children too abide there in his mansions, 6 
daughters and 6 lusty sons ; and behold he gave his daughters to his sons to 
wife." {Odyss. x, i.) This is clearly Cosmic ; the floating airy island being the 
Earth, and the rest being of the firmament, celestial or zodiacal 

The island of Cephalonia in the myth of Kephalos and Prokris also 
deserves attention here. 

The island P'ung-Lai, ^ ^ was brought one day, in all its mass, by the 

* K€ivo tf vmiipuiv Otiffv HtXomjtda ycuav \ eWavix'^t n{Kayos ILprjfrqs vntp. 
' iv, 1694. Mr. Coleridge's version. 

• Dr. Joyce's Celiic Romances ^ 41, 87. A deceased Sir Andrew Agncw thus appears 
to have been a plagiarist. ^ Ibui. 144. 

Digitized by 


Myths?\ The Loadstone Mountain, 141 

Ngao S or Cosmic Tortoise of Chinese myth.* As the Earth is also supported 
by the Tortoise, we here have in P*ung-Lai, I fancy, a clear figure for the Earth 
just as in so many islands of Greek mythology.] 

[Rocking'Stones. It has occurred to me to try and explain the 

puzzling Rocking-Stones as another archaic conception of the idea 

of ''animated stones;" the vibration of the gigantic mass, which 

still astonishes ourselves, being employed to awe the other masses 

into adoration. I cannot find any record of the "lie" of such 

stones, as regards the points of the compass.* A Buddhist legend, 

which is a household word in Japan, chimes-in with this theory. 

The monk Daita, ascending a hill, and collecting stones, placed 

them upon the ground around him, and began to preach to them 

of the secret precepts of Buddha ; and so miraculous was the 

effect of the mysterious truths he told, that even the stones bowed 

in reverent assent. Thereupon the saint consecrated them as the 

Nodding-S tones.' To this day, Japanese gardens consisting almost 

entirely of stones — our own rockeries suggest themselves — are 

arranged in a small enclosure to represent this legend, which 

resembles that of the Venerable Bede, p. 125.] 

• De Groot, Fites cPEmoui, i, 174. 

• Since the above was in type, I find that Dr. T. A. Wise says in his History of 
Paganism in Caledonia (1884, p. 92), apparently from his own personal observation — 
which is my reason for quoting the book — that the 3-ton 5 ft. 6 x 4 ft. 8 rocking-stone at 
Strathardle, Perthshire, moves only when pushed in the direction of N. and S. When 
it has been worked -up to its fiill swing, the end of the stone vibrates through some 
4 inches, and it then makes (say) 27 balancings before it returns to rest. 

• Chamberlain's Things Japanese^ 131. 

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142 Tfie Night of the Gods, [Axis 

II. — MdyvrjSj Medea, and Maia — Touchstone. 

ASHORX time may not here be thrown away in a hunt after 
myth and etymon. 

Mdrfvri^ was a "servant" of Mi^BecOy changed by that goddess 
and sorceress into a stone, the magnet He it is who in this myth 
divinely *' animates " this stone. Another myth given by Nicander 
makes him walk in shepherding upon natural-magnetic rocks, to 
which he became fixed by the nails in his shoes^ ; where we 
obviously have a variant not alone of Sindbad's loadstone cliff- 
mountain but of the shoes of IphiKratos (see " The Myth of Daphne" 
infra) and the brazen feet of Tal6s, and perhaps of the footprint 
legends generally. The black precious-stone called Medea nigra 
which Pliny (xxxvi, lo, 6^) said was not otherwise known than by its 
name, must thus have been the loadstone, and also perhaps the 
first black image of a great goddess now traceable in the Universe. 

I suggest that Ui4pos^ the son of Magn6s must mean stone (French pierre), 
and that thus Pieria the seat of the Muses* was equivalent to Petraia, stony— of 
course in a celestial god-stone sense ; and further that the nine daughters of 
Pieros were simply a doublet of the Muses. Pieros was also father of Hya- 
kinthos (also a precious-stone) by Klei6 (our Clio), whom I should call one of 
the /keystone goddesses. 

The identity of the names Athamas and Adamas must be strongly suspected. 
The name of his Black son Melanion, the spouse of Atalanta ;* his children by 
In6 being dressed black, and those by Themist6 in white, or vice versd; and his 

* Pliny xxxvi, i6, citing Nicander. Isidonis {Originuniy xvi, 4) also followed 
Micaader, but put the myth in India. Vincent de Beauvais reproduced it {Specuium 
NaturaU^ ii, 9, 19) saying clavis crepidarum, baculiqm cuspidi haerens. This is also 
in J. B. della Porta's Magia NcUuralis^ 1651, p. 288. Here we have the staff or /«/, 
as well as the shoes. Dioscorides, the first-century Greek botanist, said that the plant 
which is called in Latin Lunaria major^ drew the shoes off the feet of any horse that 
trod thereon (de Vallemont's Physique occuUe^ 1696, p. 3). 

« ApolL BihL i, 3, 3. » Hesiod, Theog, v, 53: " iv Uuplu Kpopldjf," 

* Ovid, Ars atner, ii, 185. In Apollodoros (BibL iii, 9, 2) he is Meilanidn, and the 
son of Amphi-damas, where either damas is adamas or gives us a clue to adamas. Are 
damas and adamas the two poles of the magnet, and does amphi-damas mean the whole 
magnet ? Amphi Damas is brother to lasos, and son of LukoUrgos. Ao/uar was said 
by Pliny (xxxiv, 8, 19) to have been a (mythic ?) sculptor of KXc/rcap in Arcadia, which I 
would make the polar AVfstone of the heavens-vault. The name LaoDamas, of the 
king of Thebes, seems absolutely to be composed of the words Xo^r, stone, and 
^ioftas. There is also the name AlkiDamas (oXic^, strength), and doubtless many others 
(besides IphiDamas, Jt^t almighty) wh^ch do not come to the memory at the moment. 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] Mayvri^, Medea, and Maia, 143 

important central position as King of Thessaly in the myths that concern him 
must be worked out some other time. Adamas, again, was said by F. Lenor- 
mant to be identical with AdMetus/ and the name was at times given to 
Plout6n. He also said that the 'A5d/i of the Philosophumena was an abbreviation 
of Adamas or Adamastos, an epithet of Had^s ; and that this Adam of Samo- 
thrace equalled the Attis or Pappas {j.e. Father) of Phrygia. This line, if fought 
out, would give us a stone-man in Adam's creation as well as in Deukali6n*s. 
Elsewhere Magnus is a son of Aiolos the nimble winds-god : that 
is, magnetic stones fall from the air, are aerolites. Again he is, 
because these stones drop from the heavens, a son of Argos the 
shining heavens (see Index). Clemens Alexandrinus,* quoting 
Didymus the grammarian, made Magnus the father of Apollo. 

There is a fragment of Xanthos, the Lydian and writer of 
Lydian history about 496 B.C., which has its value because the 
legends must have been local, and to which I must refer without 
reproduction.* It may be interpreted, perhaps, that Gyg6s Vvyr\<i 
King of the Lydians had Magnus for his familiar, that is was aided 
by or wielded the magnet's mysterious power. See also p. 146. 

Pvyiyy can of course be looked upon as no more than Tiyay, giant ; but 
Gyg^s had the famous magic ring which rendered invisible, and as one of the three 
primeval fifty-headed and hundred-handed sons of Ouranos and G^, he is called 
by Apollodoros (Bibl. i, i) Vvr\i (Briareos, Guds and Kottos). This suggests 
ycJiyr, enchanter ; but Clitodemus (Kleidfimos), in naming this triad the Trito- 
Patores,^ calls him Pvyi/f. 

That Medea was of the first rank among celestial powers is 
clearly shown by her pairing with Ar^s ; and her connection with 
lasdn, 7V//seus, and Thi\^% place her among the Bkoi (all 
which see). She was the mother by lasdn of M^So9 ; and it seems 
to be possible to theorise that both names, give us a central, middle, 
Universe god and goddess— just the same idea that we have in the 
Norse name Midgardr for the abode of such gods, and in the Mith- 
Odinus (Mid-Odinn Y) of Saxo Grammaticus. And now, having 
been given this ell, let me take another inch, and say boldly 
that MeDus (the central-god, the son of MeDea, who gave his name 
to the Medes,that is, like the Chinese, the inhabitants of the Middle 
(Kingdom) and Magnus, the Great-One, the servant of Medea, are 

But it would seem that we must pair such names as LaoDamas and LaoDameia, 
AstuDamas and AstuDameia. It is impossible now to turn aside to Damia as a name of 
Bona Dea, damium her victim and damiatrix her priestess, all which E. Saglio {Dut. i, 
725) seeks to connect with D8M6tlr. 

* Saglio, Diet, des Aniiq, i, 687, 763. ' Exh9rt. (0 HelUrus^ ch. 2. 

* No. 19, p. 40 of Frag, Hist, Grac, Didot, 1874, vol. i. 

* Frag, 19, p. 340, ut sup. 

Digitized by 


M4 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

identical. Does not this throw quite a new light upon Ovid's 
•* Medio tutissimus ibis," and upon the god MeDius Fidius (which 
see) who is perhaps also to be identified with Medus ? 

MeDientius (alias Mezentius) rex, that is ruler-god, of Etrurian Caere 
(? caele = caelum), helped the turning-heavens god Tumus (brother of lu- 
Tuma) rex of the Rutu\\ (? w/teel-godsy or red fire-gods) at Ardea, the central 
fire. All the dramatis personae are here central or rotators. MeDientius also 
fought Latinus, q. v. ; and his name seems to be merely an adjectival form of 
MeDius. Miiller said Mezentius was perhaps an Osk word.* 

McdtiDv is the icTJpv$ or herald of Ithaca in the Odyssey (iv, 677 and passim). 
If his name has the central meaning I would give it, it is a strengthening of the 
central meaning I have suggested at p. 55 for Mercurius. (See other gods in 
Med6n lower down.) 

Medea cured Herakles of madness by secrets learned from her 
mother Hecate ; but others of her myths also show her to have 
become a fallen deity. The number of the Phaiakian handmaids 
given to Medea by Ar^t^ queen of Kerkura (Corcyra), which was 
the zodiacal twelve, is another note of a supreme (central) 
heavens-goddess. They are called ^\*/te9, " of the same age," in 
the Argonautika (iii, 840) ; but ^Xckc^, as rotators, like 'TSXiKTf the 
great Bear, would suit them perhaps better. 

2(/>t-Mcd€ca is clearly another form of the goddess's name, for l<ln, as a prefix to - 
proper names can only be regarded as expressive of divine power, and thus equals 
almighty. In *E<f>i-AXTi]Sj son of IphiMedeia, the first part of the word is probably 
I(f>i and not cVl ; and the word then would mean " the Most High Almighty." 

AndroMeda. In pursuance of one of the general rules kept in view in this 
Inquiry^ we must also include here this Mcda, who was the spouse of Perseus, 
and was chained to the heavens-rock. PeriM6d6, daughter of Aiolos, falls in 
here too, I suppose. 

McAovo-a, M« Aoura or MeDusa must also be understood as a central 
goddess. MeDusa is one of a sacred triad. Poseid6n becomes a bird to 
mate with her. Her hair becomes serpents, which is like the serpent head- 
dresses of Egyptian deities. The glance of her evil eye turned to stone near 
the Tritonian lake all whom it reached. Perseus in his attack on her uses 
the shield or the mirror of Atli^n^ (and of the Japanese goddess AmaTerasu) 
and the casque or cap-of-invisibility of Ploutdn. With her severed head 
Perseus changes AtLas into a mountain. She is the mother of P^jasos, the 
central winged horse-god. P6g^ being a fountain, he is also the hippopotamus 
par excellence, the horse, that is, of the central heavens-spring. Perseus was 
also called YMx\xMeddn, With MeDousa must go the name M^tiaDousa 
(wife of Kekrops) which again by its first half hangs on to M^ti6n her father's 
name. Also AutoMeDousa wife of IphiKlos, and AstuMeDousa' wife of Oidi- 

' Etruskerx, 115, 368. 

' "AoTv ( — city) is in a great variety of names, and may perhaps be classed with orvXoy 
pillar (slanding-stone), OTwroff stock, stem (standing-foot ; the French st»ll has un pied 

Digitized by 


Afyths.'\ Mayi/T^s, Medea^ and Maia. »45 

pous, and HippoMeDousa and IphiMeDousa, daughters of Danaos. And Pala- 
Mddds and AgaM^d^s must also be mentioned here ; being more fully dealt 
with under " Divine Names in pal-'^ Nor should DioM6D€s be forgotten. 
AutoMeddn, LaoMed6n, and IphiMedon^ also require noting. See also 
Meddixtuticus and Meditullius under the heading of " The Navel " ; and Mezen- 
tius (more anciently MeDientius) who helped Tumus the turning-heavens god, 
must of course be added. (All the divine words in Me- badly want systcma- 
tising, but there is no time just now^) 

Ath^nd was titled 

Magnisia. Magnus, with or without lapis, meant a magnet ; and 
doubtless named the land of Magnesia and Ath^n6 too, instead of 
Magnesia naming the stone, as continues to be repeated by ** the 
authorities." Klaproth* said that the loadstone was vulgarly called 
fiSyvrfi; ; but if that be so, all I can say is, vox populi vox dei ; a 
qualification which applies to a vast quantity of other folklore. 
Nothing can well be more mythic than the geography and position 
of the ancient terrestrial Magnesia. Strabo (ix, 429) seems to put 
it in South-East Thessaly, where were also Mounts Pelion and 
Ossa ; Homer gave no precise information. Its inhabitants were 
vaguely the Magnetes ,•* and the sole town that Magnus himself is 
fabled to have founded he called Meliboia after his consort.' 
There seems to be very little danger in opining that this last name 
discloses a Bee-goddess of the starry heavens, and her abode. 
Magn^ia, in fact, remains in nubibus ; where, as I maintain, the 
voyage of the Argo placed it. ** In the distance," wrote Apollonios^ 
who, of course was only re-working up old material, " were seen the 
Peiresian headlands and the headland {aKfyq) of Magn^ia, calm 
and clear upon the mainland (vTrevOto^ rt^eipou) atcr^q) and the 
cairn (rvfipos:) of Dolops."* I should here give Peiresiai its real 
value of transpiercing, or else make it mean terminal, as irelpap and 
irripw; mean end, just as ovp(yf and oipov mean boundary, which 
furnishes a notable enough coincidence. AkrS I would render by 
summit or extremity, and for mainland, I would read **the immen- 
sity ;" while Dolops, if interpreted as Wily-Eye or countenance, 

de cfleri, and so on), frroh pilltir (stand), and orv© erigo. Thus the orv in 3-otv is the 
Latin sto stand ; and the true meaning of a-stu thus is not-permanent, not-fixed ; which 
exactly answers to the 22-centuries-old explanation of Philochoros in our 4th fragment of 
him (Didot*s /Vof. Hist, Grcec, i, 384) that it was originally a nomadic encampment. 
This etymology is of the nature of the unexpected, and perhaps is new. 
' La Baussoie, p. 11. 

* Scylax ; Skymnos of Chios, v, 605 ; Diod. Sic. xii, 51 ; xvi, 29. 

* Eustath. on Iliad, ii, 717, * Argonautika^ i, 583. 

* Mr. E. P. Coleridge's version, p. 24. 


Digitized by 


146 The Night of the Gods. \Axis 

gives us the wiliness of Kronos and the all-seeing Eye on which I 
have here often to lay such stress. [Pelops would thus be the 
Black-visaged night-heavens? Although his forehead and his 
shoulder are made white in myth-fragments.] All this is of the 
North Polar heavens, and Magnesia becomes the mythic loadstone 
mountain of all the myths and legends. 

The powdered magnet was a favourite remedy in the middle ages, and the 
name of our drug magnesia, the oxide of magnesium, has very probably an 
equally superstitious sacred origin, just as the use of creta, chalk, in medicine 
may have had (see p. 140). 

A strange name for the magnet is that in Hcsychius, \vhia or Avdue^ Xi^or, 
the Lydian stone ; because it came from Lydia(see pp. 130, 143). Doctors seem 
to differ about this, for Pliny (xxxiii, 8, 43) said that the Lydius lapis was a 
name of the touchstone, because at one time it only came from Mount TfiAXor or 
Tymolus (which I presume must be regarded as the divided mountain ; or else 
as tumulus^ simply). But Tm61os was son of Ar6s, a giant, and a king of Lydia. 
His mother was TheoG^n^, godbom. He violated ArriphS (basket-bearer?), a 
companion of Artemis at the altar of the goddess. Tmdlos was tossed by 
a mad bull on to stakes on which he was im/^z/ed, and he was buried in the 
mountain that bears his name. The Paktdlos (peaceful Y) flowed down this 
mountain, and it was also called Lydius aurifer amnis (which does not sound 
peaceful). Omphald was called Lydia nurus and puella, being the queen of the 
place,' having been left it by King Tm61os who was her husband. Another 
name of Lydia was Maionia. Here we have doubtless mythic celestial supreme 
regions. The magnet was also called Xi^or 'H/KutXcux after H6rakl6s,« or 
else after the town of Herakleia, at the foot of Mount Sipulos in Lydia (see p. 
130, and what is said later about this under " The Arcana **). Now Tm61os was 
said by Eustathius to be son of Sipulos and Eptonia (? a corruption, and from 
iwra seven). Sipulos was the first of the seven sons of Niobd, and Tantalos 
was another (she was also daughter of Tantalos). Niob6 was also called the 
stone of Sipulos, because she was there at her own prayer changed to stone by 

Magnolia meant " wonders " in ecclesiastical Latin (Tertull : 
ad Uxor, ii, 7), and was also used for grand actions, great things. 
This again brings us to Ma709, magus and maga, a magician ; 
magus, magical, enchanting; and the Persian magi (Greek /^u^toO* 
regarding which word Professor Skeat says : " the original sense 
was probably great, from the Zend maz, great (Pick i, 168) 
cognate with Greek lUyas, Latin magnus, great Root, magh, to 
have power." Thus magic \s simply and initially the exercise of 
the mag or power of the great central deity ; and natural magic 

Pherecydes^df^. 34 ; ApolL BibL ii, 6, 3. 
« Pliny has Heracleus lapis, xxxiii, 8, 43 ; xxxvi, 16, 2$. 
• ApoU. BibL iii, 5, 6, 6. 

Digitized by 


Myths?^ Mayi/iys, Medea, and Maia. i47 

and natural magxitXSsxti are thus brought together in the Night of 
the Gods. 

Is not this central, middle, highest conception the true key also 
to the origin and significance of Asura Medhk and its analogue 
Ahura Mazdko} 

From the same root come 

Magisier^ the supreme, the director, conductor, ordinator, watcher, over- 
sec-r, chief, master. Magister sacrorum was the high priest, the king of the 
sacrifices ; and the " colleges " of the Augurs, the Arvalii, Salii, and Lares 
Augusti had each its magister. 

Magicae linguae means hieroglyphics in Lucan, ii, 222. But we must carry 
die words in mag- a good deal further. 

Magada was the name of the Venus goddess in Lower Saxony whose 
temple was uprooted by Charlemagne (No€l) ; the 

Magodes were mimes who, we may make pretty sure, originally took parts 
in religious mystery-plays, the Magodia. 

Magarsis was (as well as Magnesia, already mentioned) a title of Atheij^ (?) 
at Magarsus of Cilicia. 

MaySaX^, the place-name, is glossed in the older lexicons {e,g, 
Schrevelius) as meaning in Hebrew " a tower " ; and Ma^hoKrivhy 
the woman's name (which is of course simply of " Magdala ") as 
in Syriac meaning " magnificent " : there certainly is a mag- in 
both. Magdalum, yi6/yho!ikov or yid^hoKov may be the Migdol of 
Jeremiah xliv, i ; xlvi, 14. But the word magdalia, or magdalides, 
oblong cylinders, is a strange one. It seems to have been even in 
Roman times relegated to the pharmacy (Pliny). And it passed 
into French as magdaMon (from fiaySaXid, which Littr^ explains 
as pdte petrie simply, from /Moaa-a), efiayov ; but this is clearly ofT 
the spot, for how about the ** oblong cylinder " ?). It seems as if we 
must discern in all these words the two components mag- and -dala. 
How would it be then, if mag-dala meant simply a greal^ that is a 
long, stone ; then a pillar, and then a tower? One naturally thinks 
of the French dalle, but Littr6 again fails us at the pinch, saying 
" origine inconnue ; " but giving us the extra forms dail daille. 
Now it seems to me that we may have the clue we want (under the 
heading of " The Round Towers ") in the Irish diminutive dal/dn, 
the name for the pillar-stones of Munster. If this be indeed so, 
it clears up somewhat, and serves the theories here advocated. I 
can only submit it to the judgement of philologists. DaiDalos (see 
p. 134) would seem to fall into the same category. Tl^ere was 

> Darmesteter's Zeml Av, i, Iviii (dting Benfey). 

K 2 

Digitized by 


148 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

Magdala in Gaulonitis (Peraea) near the lake of Gennesaret, 
Magdala in Languedoc ; and I may not omit Ma7&»\oj/ or 
Marfhokov in Egypt, which is perhaps the Migdol of Jeremiah, 

Magtnenium (said to be for magY'mentum) was a sacrificial offering (said, 
indeed, to be a supplemental offering, but that does not satisfy). Varro said it 
came from magis because "ad religionem magis pertinet" (Z. L, v, § 112), 
which, old as Varro though it be, sends us empty away. 

Magusanus (? Mag/fusanus) is the name of a god in an inscription found in 
Zealand. Olaus Rudbeck rendered it Valens, god of strength* The god holds 
a great fork (which rests on the earth) in one hand, and in the other a dolphin. 
This resembles a Poseiddn. A large veil (which reminds of Kronos) covers 
the head and reaches to the shoulders. " The name Magusanus is also found 
on the coins of Posthumus " (Noel). 

The reader may think that we have taken a long time in getting 
to Magnus itself; but there were reasons of convenience for the 

Magnus. Major being the comparative of magnus gives us a 
still surviving link of magnus to its other form majus, great, and 
enables us to join the magnet class of words to another, the Ma2a 
class ; and this is of the very highest moment as to the contentions 
here urged. For Ma^yi/iyy is thus obviously nothing but the personal- 
name form of the adjective magnus g^eat, and thus magnet reveals 
itself as /A^- Great-Stone, Karkl^o^v. 

MajtiSy an old word for magnus, great, is found in Deus Majus, 
that is Jupiter ;^ and Dea Maia was usual. Let us next take MaZd, 
Majja, Maja, who was the daughter of Atlas and the mother (by 
Zeus) of Hermes, which at once puts her, where she is wanted for 
the present purposes, with the Axis-gods. And this is confirmed 
by the passage in the ^netd (viii, 139) : Mercurius quem Candida 
Maia Cyllenae gelido conceptum vertice fudit, for Candida here 
belongs (like the endless similar terms throughout this Inquity) to 
the white heavens-deities, and the gelidus vertex of Cyllena 
(JLvWrivri) is the Northern icy summit of the hollow heavens- 
mountain (/cotXo9, caelum, /cuXtf ; but caelo=:to ornament, to chase). 

Maja genitum demittit ab alto, sent down her son from on high 
(/Eneid i, 297) ; and thence was Mercury called Majades and 
Majugena (Maja and gigno). She was also sanctissima Maja 

^ Sunt qui hunc mensem (Malum) ad nostros fastos \ Tusculanis transisse com- 
memorenty apud quos nunc quoque vocatur deus Maius, qui est Jupiter, ^ magoitudine 
scilicet ac fkiajestate dictus (Macrobius, Satumal, i, 12). Tacitus constantly uses majus 
(as the neuter of maior) as, " cuncta in majus attollens " {Ann, xv, 30. See also Ann. 
xiii, 8 ; Hist, iii, 8 ; i, 18 ; iv, 50). 

Digitized by 


Mytks.l Mayinj9, Medea, and Maia, 149 

(Cicero, Arat, 270 — where she is said to be one of the Pleiades). 
Maia also brought up 'Ap/ca?, regarding whom the reader is 
especially requested to refer to the Index. Cybel^ was with 
propriety called Maja, and so was Tellus. Macrobius {Saturn, i, 
12) even said that some considered her to be Medea: quidam 
Medeam putant, which is giving a certain age to this new theory 
of mine. [Of course the connection with the Indian Maya and 
with the Sanskrit maha, great, is unavoidable, but would take us 
too far ; but see what is said in this Inquiry about the Indian 
Manus and the Irish Maini,'] Maia was also paired with Vulcan, 
one of the greatest of the gods ; and Vulcan's flamen, as Macrobius 
has preserved for us, sacrificed to her on the first day of May ; and 
the Majuma was the great popular water-festival in May upon the 
Tiber. The divine name AlkMai6n {oKkti strength), of the son of 
AmphiAraQs, n)ust fall into this great category, and mean great- 
almighty ? 

MqfuSj the name of the month of May, came, said Ovid, from 
the name of the goddess Maja ; and so also said Ausonius. May, 
our English month (and may, our English verb, too) thus springs 
from the root, ma^ or ntagh or mak, to be powerful, And that too 
of course gave 

Majus in low-Latin, which was a tree, that is *^ a may," cut and 
planted as a sign of honour and worship. Majanus hortus is found 
in Pliny, xxv, 8, 33 ; and in an inscription {apud Grut. 589 : 3 and 
602 : 3). So that this low-Latin sense of majus was doubtless 
also very high Latin indeed. 

And so, as it is humbly submitted to more competent judgements, 
have we come by one linked chain from the magnet to the maypole, 
without ever once quitting the central sacrosanct region round which 
the Universe revolves. 

MELUSINE. The name Melusine deserves some attention here. Littrd 
brings it from the bas-Breton melus, melodious, Gallic melusiney songstress. 
She was the b^shee of the Lusignans, and ajipeared and screamed when 
misfortunes were at hand, which makes her a goddess of evil fortune. There 
are many other notes of a central goddess in her myth. She was the daughter 
of ^/enas King of Altamdi (which may denote the white heavens). She became 
a serpent every seventh day to expiate the murder of her father. Heraldry 
makes a sort of mermaid of her (half serpent half woman), with the mirror and 
comby and bathing. She was one of a triad of sisters, and their mother Pressina 
took them on to a high mountain-top whence she showed them Albania, wheie 

Digitized by 


ISO The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

they would have reigned had not their father, like a peeping Tom, pryed upon 
her (Pressina)* at their bringing-forth. All this has analogies in the Japanese 
myths of Amaterasu. The three weird sisters shut-up their father Elenas in the 
mountain of Brundelois which is marvellously like the word brontia, and ought 
to be the thunder-mountain of the heavens. It may also indicate a parallel 
to El-gebel, " the mountain." Melusine has eight sons who are all wondrous ; 
the fifth had but one eye, with which he coujd see (3 x 7 =) 21 leagues ; 
the sixth was Geoffroy with the great tooth ; the eighth had three eyes, one of 
which was in the middle of th^ forehead.' 

I am sorry to say this is oi^e of the countless myths of whiqh I have had no 
time to read up the literature ; but the likeness of many Me/usine incidents to 
those of the great Medusa myth may be jotted down here. Medusa was pnc of 
three sisters, the Gorgons ; her hair became serpents ; a mirror given by 
Ath^n6 to Perseus aids in slaying Medusa ; the drops of blood from the severed 
head of Medusa also produce serpents ; Apollodoros* said that one Gorgon 
triad (the Graiai or Hags) had but one eye and one tooth between the three, 
each using these properties by turns ; they were also white-haired. The other 
triad (of whom Medusa) had scaly serpents for hair, 2^nd great boar-tusks for 
teeth {ph6vras hk firyaXovr a>£ trvwf). 

The One Tooth i^ I think to be traced back to Monodusi (Mwddovr ?) son of 
Prousias (King of Bythinia?) who hs^d but a single bone in place of teeth : quj 
unum OS habuit dentium loco. Pyrrhus King of the Epirotes had the same 
{Festus\ Are we not to diagnose a corresponding myth under the name of 
Tuscus, which gives us an unregistered connection wi|h tusjc In Irish myth, 
Finn's tooth of knowledge is famous, and Balar of the Evil Eye's queen is 
Kathleen (Ceithleann) of the Crooked Teeth.* In the RigVeda the Raltsha^ 
and Panis and fiends are atrin^ tusked. So are the Asuras in the Mcthdbhdratd^ 
The Rishi Atri, the first of the Bright Race, the Chandra- vaqsa, was a star i^ 
the Great Bear. 

TOUCHSTONE. The Old Man Battos, son of PoluMn^stoa 
of the divine island of Thex^ (Corcyra, the Earth), traced his descent 
from EuPhfimos the herald of the Argonauts. Battos stapimered 
to hide his designs • he w?is therefore wily, like Kronos ; and his real 
name was AristoTelfis (? best-extreme. Compare Arfo). He 
founded and was adored at lLvpr\vr\f Cyrene. 

Compare Kv/wy = Ceres, and Kvp^vri daughter of 'Y^rcvr The High, King of 
the Lapithai, that is the heavens-stone god. She was the mother by Apollo 
of Aristeios (father of Aktai6n by Autonod) the first Bee-master and (olive) 
tree-planter, also said to be son of Ouranos and Gaia, who established himself 
on Mt Alfios and disappeared. (His Samson-myth deserves study.) Kurdn^ 

* Prisni, the heavens, is in the RigVeda the mother of the stormgods, the Maruts. 

* Jean d'Arras. Couldrette. Bullet, Dissert, sur la myth, franfoise. 
' Bibl. ii, 4, 2. See also Pherecyd, y9^. 26. 

* Dr. Joyce's Celtic RomanceSy 41, 414^ 

» Callim. In ApolL 65, etc ; Find, Pyth, v, 71, etc. 

Digitized by 


AfyiAs.] Touchstone. 151 

was also the mother, by Apollo, of AutcMi^os and of Idm6n (the knowing) an 
Argonaut, a diviner of Argos, and a Danaid ; and she also had DioM^d^s 
(central-god) by Ar^. [There are other accounts of the parentage of Idm6n 
and DioMM^J 

The "stammering" must really have meant that Battos was 
dumb, for his terror at a lion's attack made him shout articulately. 
The idol of Battos was at Delphi on a chariot driven by Kur^nfi. 
By another legend Battos was turned by Hermes into a fidaavo^ 
or touchstone, which clearly shows him to have been a stone-god 
(? compare battuo beat) and a fit companion for Ma7n;9. Besides, 
Battos and Basanos (? from fialvca) are both connected ; and have 
not basanos^ and basileus a connection ? This might give Og the 
King of Bashan a very important position (see Note on his Bed, 
infra) ; and the basilii were priests of SaTumus who sacrificed to 
him on the Mons Satumius in the month of Mars. Battos was one 
of the numerous disclosers of the secrets of the gods — in this case 
the secret theft by Hermes of the flocks (stars ?) of Apollo. It is 
said, wrote Clemens Alexandrinus,* that Battos the Kurfinian 
composed what is called the Divination of Mopsos. 

The Latin for basanos was Index,* and Ovid changes Battus 
into that stone : in durem silicem qui nunc quoque dicitur Index 
{Met. ii, 706 j. But Hercules was also called Index, which must 
have been in his heavens^pointing Axis-god character ; and 
K. O. Muller* took Ovid to call the stone-f^ure of Battus the 
Index ; adding that a figure like that of an Old Man on a hill-top 
in Messinia was called the Watch-Tower of Battus. 

Og's Bed. The " bedstead of iron " of Og the King of Bashan* 
puzzles those who dread or disdain the comparative method. A. 
Dillman considers ^^S^Sl (^rs) to be sarcophagus and not bed, and 
*?ria (brzl) to be ironstone {i,e, basalt or dolerite).* M. J. Hal6vy 
says it cannot be sarcophagus but must be throne or portable bed, 
nor will he admit basalt, but harks back to the biblical old view 
that it was an actual iron bedstead (out of a shop }\ or even a 
cradle.* Still he points out that the bed of Bel at Babylon in one 

* Bekker {Anecd. 225) cites another form, /Sao-ay/n/r. 
' StromcUay i, 21. 

* And indeed I may say that its Index is the touchstone of this Inquiry, 

* MythoL Appx. on Grotto of Herm^ at Pylus. 

* Deuter. iii, 11. • Rev. des Etudes Juives, xxi, 218, 222. 

Digitized by 


152 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

of the late G. Smith's texts^ had exactly the same dimensions as 
Og's, 9 cubits by 4. 

I think we must take Dillman to be right about the ironstone, 
though we may reject basalt or dolerite, and that we must also 
take these beds of Bel and Og to be just the same sort of beds as 
are so common in Irish myth and present-day nomenclature. 
Large stones such as St. Colomb's bed in Donegal," and the beds 
of Diarmait and Grainne in many parts of the country, are still 
called by the name bed, leaba, leabaidh (pron. labba, labby). The 
same term is applied to a cromleac (sloping-stone ?), a word unused 
by the Irish ; and the beds of the Feni and of Qscur are still 
shown. Thus bed, leaba, does also mean grave or sepqlchre, the 
bed of the last sleep, and is well exemplified in the questionable 
wish of the unrequited beggar-woman : ** Musha thin, the heaven^ 
be yer bed this night ! " 

labba, labby, le^ba or leabaidh, bed, Old Irish lebaid, Manx Ihiabbee, 

Labby, townland in Londondepy. 

Labbyeslin, tomb of EsHn, Leitrim. 

Labba-Iscur, Oscur*s bed (grave). 

Labasheeda, Sioda*s grave, Clare. 

Labbamolaga, St. Molaga's grave, church and townland Co. Cork. 

Labbadermody, Diarmait's bed, a townland Co. Cork. 

Leab,a-Dhiarmada-agus-Grainne, bed of Dermot and Grainne (" cromlechs "). 
One was built after every day's flight, and legend has 366 of them i^ 
Ireland. The idea here is not that of a grave. 

Leabthacha-na-bhFeinne (labbaha-i^a-veana) monuments of the Feni. 

Leaba-caillighe (labbacallee) hag's-bed, sometimes a name for a " cromlech."* 

* Athettautn^ 12 Feb. 1876. 

* Athenaum 20 Sept. 1890, p. 393. 

* Dr. Joyce, Irish Names ^ 1st series, 4th ed. 340, ^52, 

Digitized by 


Myths?\ The CEdipus Myths. iS3 

12. — The CEdipus Myths. 

OIDIPOUS, Swellfoot/ King of Thebes (that is of the 
heavens), must rank himself 2is an Axis-god with Magnus and 
IphiKratos and even with Tal6s, 

The name was also called Olhmohr^s^ ^s is shown by Oidwrddao in the Odyssey^ 
xi, 271 ; Ilictdy xxiii, 679 ; Hesiod's Op. et di, 163. See also Pindar Pyth, iv, 
163. In Irish myth there is a Fomorian giant (of Tory, that is tower, island, 
and of Lochlann in the North) called Sotal of the big heels (s41mh6r).« 

The vast roots or feet of the Universe-tree (to which Oidipous 
was hanged by the feet — the legend getting muddled) depend from 
it. He lived and died where the profane put not their foot, at the 
Universe^pillar, at Colone, KoXcoi^ (=hill) and KoXo)i//9, which we 
shall taJce the liberty of connecting with /tfo\o(roro9, columen, and 
columna ; and was notably called OlSiirov^ eVl KoXpov^ and CEdipus 
Coloneus. His end takes place, like that of so many other axis- 
deities, by his being swallowed up by the Earth, while sitting on a 
stone-throne (the Japanese rock-seat of heaven), where the way 
parts into many roads (that is, at the centre of the universe, which 
is also Japanese) ; and at the sound of a thunderclap. 

T/t^eus (a supremest divinity) alone knows where CEdipus is 
engulphed or buried. Of course there is a fountain called after 
him, the QEdipodia. He is the son of Laios, the Stone-deity, and 
'loKacmy ; is exposed ^s an infant on Mount KiOaipdv,^ which we 
may read as the harp {KiOapi^) n^ountain, the musical sphere of 
the heavens ; when he travels he goes by (and with) th^ stars. 
Later in the myth he puts out his eyes, becomes blind, lik^ Teiresias 
and so many of his high-placed fellows. He murders his father 
like the great gods of Phoenicia, Greece, and Rome ; and, like 
every Babylonian and Egyptian god of eminence, is the consort of 
his own mother, who casts herself from the summit of the (heavens-) 
palace, with which we meet so often in this Inquiry^ into the Hells. 
Some versions add a cord, and make her hang herself from the 
roof, which parallels Hera's suspension from heaven by a chain. 
OidiPous joins his IoKast6 (whom Pherecydes made his daughtei) 
in Tartaros, for they are then fallen deities. 

* Apoll. Bibi, iii, 5. 7. * Dr. Joyce's Celtic Romances, 41. 

Digitized by 



The Night of the Gods. 


A less fuliginous myth makes CEdipus marry Eurugan^ (Wide- 
shining ?).* 

The large number of names in Eury- Evpv- may be referred to the spacious 
{wpvi) heavens ; but the (iron ?) " washer" of an axle was also cvpoi (plural). 

The four children of CEdipus give a doublet of the four which 
comprise Castor and Pollux (IlokvAevicr}^) ; for EteoKlfis (true- 
Keystone?) and IloXvNelKf)^ were to reign alternately in the 
heavens (Thebes), and their division was so complete that even the 
flames of their funereal pile, and of the jointrsacrifices to them, rose 
apart The war in heaven of which these brothers were the cause is 
famous. It set Argos against Thebes, that is heaven against 
itself; and it was right that Statius should give it the zodiacal 
number of twelve cantos. 

As regards the guessing of the Sphinx's Universe-riddle by 
OlBiirou^y it perhaps points rather to another possible signification of 
his name as (Witfoot) the Root-of-Kqowledge ; bringing it from 
ilBw (present otSa k.t.X.) The riddle and the labyrinth (with the 
revolving columns) and perhaps the Indian nandyivarta (see "The 
Suastika ") must all be put into the same bag of tricks. 

The scholiast on the (Edipus Coloneus noted a legend that 


Semel6 ^ Zeus 

Agavfi =^ Echi6n 

> Poseid6n =jF Libu8 

Agfen6r =f T^lephassn 


Ar^ == Aphrodite 

Kadmos ^ Harmonia 

In6 nr Athamas 
MeliKert^s {alias Palaim6n) 

Autonol ^ Aristaios 


PoluD6ros =jF NuKt^b 

PeriPhas == Aktaia | 

T . _ .1 

IoKast6 nr Laioe 





loKast^ or EuruGand 







Digitized by 


Mytks^^ The CEdipus Myths. i55 

CEdipus died at Thebes, ue. in the heavens, and the Thebans 
refused hira burial there because of the previous calamities. He 
was then buried by his friends at Keos in Boi6tia. Fresh calami- 
ties ensued, and he was carried to Etednos and there buried by 
night, not knowing in the dark where the exact spot was, within 
the sanctuary of Dfim^t^r.^ (Here we have clearly heavens and 
Earth, Thebes and D^m^t^r's sa-nctuary, and perhaps the Well 
of Truth, ^€09). ^*To the Thebans he was a curse, to the 
Athenians a blessing ;"' th^t is, h^ was both god ^nd devil ; a 
fallen supernal power, 

The connection of Kol6nos with horsey names is simplified and 
explained orjly by the theory that the Centaurs were central horse- 
gods. Thus Hippios KoIOnos was the first point of Attic land 
reached by CEdipus,* and there there was an altar to Poseidon 
Hippios and Athena Hippia, anc} n^onuments to Theseus and 
Peirithoos (End-Swift), and to CEdipus and Adrastos. In the 
CEdipus Coloneus (668), CEdipus is addressed as a " stranger here 
in a Horsemen's land, in White Kol6nos the music-haunted." 
Here we clearly have the white hewens and the music of the 
spheres. Harpokration {^.v, Koldneta?) gives Koldnos Agoraios, 
which is generally interpreted "of the market-place."* But this 
" won't wash." There was an Elian temple to Artemis Agofaia in 
Olympia ; Athep^ Agor^ia w^s venerated in Sparta ; Zeus was 
Agoraios, and 50 was Hermits, not *^ because they had temples in 
the public places of certain towns," as the mythological dictionaries 
record in parrot-fashion, but because the root ag-^ to drive, urge, 
conduct (the Universe) is in the word. The market-place sense of 
the consecrated Agora is ^n accreted sense, because the market 
"came" there. The sellers and buyers, especially of sacrificial 
offerings — " those that sold opcen and sheep and doves " — always 
naturally came to the temple. It was so among the Phoenicians.* 
The explanation in fact is " the other way up." And the market 
was at the ** place," at the "cross-roads" (see Index), because it 
was the city spot symbolic of the heavenly spot, the Agora, from 

* I^ysimachus Alex, frag, 6. 

' Harrison and Vcrrall's Ancient Athens^ 602. 

* Paus. i, 30, 4 ; Androti6n, frag. 31. 

* Harrison and Verrall's Amieni Athens^ 1 18. 

* Rev. aes ^iuctes fuives, iii, 198, 199 (The inscription of Citium, Larnaka). 

Digitized by 


156 The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

which the Universe was urged-round. That is why Koldnos was 
Agoraios, because it was the Axis-Column on which the whole 
machine turned. 

And 1 submit that it explains the dubitations of the scholiast on Aristo- 
phanes {Birds 997, where the 99th fragment of Philochoros just quoted was 
given) to say that the typical Koldnos of the Agora was the Universe-Column 
(or its spot) of the celestial Agora. The tradition too which the scholiast gave 
that the astronomical instrument of Met6n was dedicated in Kol6nos thus 
immediately becomes an Axis-Column Myth, and, as one has often suspected, 
the name Met6n (meto, measure) may be viewed as a possible myth also. 

The Agora was the celestial place of assembly of the gods, 
whence the word of God proceeded, before it became the earthly 
meeting-place of men where their debates took place. 

The archaic Agora, like the Roman forum, was the very centre and heart 
of the city. It was rectangular, in the form of a plinthos or brick. The odd 
name of the assembly-enclosure therein, the irvvfc requires elucidation. (Sec, 
for example, the 99th fragment of Philochoros, which showed the doubts of his 
time.)' The vcJ/iot or magistrates of the Agora at Athens were ten ; but in Sparta 
they were seven — the Seven Wise Mei) again — under the presidency of (an 
eighth ?) a Presbus. The Cretan chief magistrates were also ten, and were 
called Kosmoi, a title which can be connected with the Cosmos, the ordered 

I here record a curious fact which it seems to me can only be explained by 
the theories here urged. It, naturally, puzzled M. Alfred M^zi^res. Below 
Khorto-Kastro, on the south slopes of ^he earthly Mount Pelion, the peasants 
still dig and find wall-foundations whjch they call icoXAvair. " I thought at first 
that real columns were in question, but I had occasion in the sequel to remark," 
wrote M. M^zi^res, " that the peasants of Magnesia meant by this somewhat 
pretentious term mere stones of great dimensions.'** Here we have the great 
stone— pillar-stone or other — called, no doubt from most archaic times, a 

[See also " The Colophon."] 

* Didot's frag. Hist, Grac, i, 400. I Le Pilion et POssa, Paris, 1853, p. 22. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Cardinal Points. «57 

13. — The Cardinal Points. 

[I am here forced to anticipate some of the Pillar section, in order to get 
together the facts about the numbers Four and Eight And of course the 
cardinal points belong strictly to the Heavens-myths, rather than to the Axis- 

CLEMENT of Alexandria, writing of the Hebrew Tabernacle 
and its furniture,^ says : " Four pillars there are, the sign of 
the sacred Tetrad of the ancient covenants." 
Perhaps we may see these 
grouped together in the clusters 
of 4 round columns in the ruined 
temple of the Chaldean god Nin 
Girsu at Tello, of which Heuzey 
gives a plan.* 

a shows (say) the lowest course of 
bricks — 8 radiating from a central 
round ; b shows the course overlying 
it — 8 bricks radiating from a central 
point into a rim ; c and d show both 
courses ; the lower being partly stripped, 
partly covered by the upper. The 
number 4 being here cardinal, 8 (4 x 2) 

is clearly half-cardinal ; and the mimicry <C» 0U 

of the wheel in both courses — one with a hub, the other with a tire — is patent. 

In the very archaic rituals for HindCl cow-sacrifices, the sacri- 
ficial post is ordered to be either square or octagonal.* The 
earliest Egyptian pillars (of buildings) were square, without base 
or abacus. In the i8th dynasty the square pillar still survived 
among the more elaborate forms, and these rude square forms 
support statues of the mummiform Osiris. Iii the 12th dynasty 
the square pillar had become 8(=4 x 2)orl6(=^ 8 x 2) 

Gerhard* ingeniously sought to connect the quadrangular Pillar 
surmounted by a head (which forms a sacred symbolic representa- 

* Stromata, ▼, 6. * Uhpaiais ChahUen^ pp. 37-58* 

* RdjendraUUa Mitra's Indo-AryoHs i, 369. 
< Pierret's Diet, if Arch. Egypt. 60, 139. 

* De relig. Hermarum (Berlin, 184$). Pausanias (x, 12) mentioned a square stone 
IIcrm3s near the sepulchre of the sibyl H6ropbil8 at Delphi. 

Digitized by 


15^ The Night of the Gods. \Axis 

tion of a class of gods that includes Herm^) with the Cabiric 
divinities of Samothrace and of the Pelasgians in general. With- 
out trespassing on the details of the section that will here deal 
with such gods, it may be said now that its main thesis is that 
the Semitic Kabirim and the Greek Kd/Setpoi^ the Strong, the 
Powerful, are neither more nor less than the gods of the chief great 
Forces of the Cosmic Machinery. 

The Egyptian farthest limits, according to Brugsch,^ were the 
4 props, the " Stutzen," of the heavens. On the stela of Tehutimes 
III (circa 1600 B.C.?) in the Boulaq Museum, the god Ra says to 
the king: "It is I that make thy terror extend to the Four 

Supports of the heavens" <=> B ^ (1^ ][][][][ "^TD^* 

And the inscription of Ramses II on the Thames-Embankment 
obelisk says : He has conquered even unto the 4 pillars of the 

earth.* Each of these 4 props is a khi ® m ^^ (the last hiero- 
glyph manifesting the labour of Atlas, the Egyptian Shu). Khi also 
means the heavens, the height above all, when written 

(the last glyph being the determinant for the heavens) or 

i IWST^ (the last glyph being the protecting heavens-goddess 
Nut). Khi • m F=q or ® (](| ^ also means roof and protection. 
TAes ^^ 1 ^jyjf the raised or upheld, is also a name for the 

heavens, and tAes ^^ 1 is a support. 

On the Dend^rah celestial chart, erroneously called a zodiac, 
4 erect female figures, the goddesses of the N. S. E. and W., hold 
up the heavens, assisted by 8 hawk-headed figures. Here we have 
12 made up of 4 -f- 8, or rather 4(1-1-2). See further as to 
the number 12 at p. 173 m/ra. 

A ** magical" text, as translated by the late distinguished 
Dr. S. Birch, finds an evident explanation here : 

"There are 4 mansions of life [that is, as I should venture to expound, 4 
astrological "houses"] Osiris is master thereof. The 4 houses are [named 
after] Isis, Nephthys, Seb, and Nu. Isis is placed in one, Nephthys in another, 
Horus in one, Tahuti in another, at the 4 angles ; Seb is above, Nu is below. 
The 4 outer walls are of stone. It has 2 stories, its foundation is sand, its 

* Geo^, Inschr, ii, 35. * Mariette, JCartuiky pi. 11, II. 3, 4. 

• D. Mosconas, Obilisques^ Alexandria 1877, pp. 5, 7. 

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Myths.^ The Cardinal Points. 159 

exterior is jasper, one is placed to the South, another to the North, another to 
the West, another to the East"* 

This seems to me to throw the true astr<<logical h'ght upon the 
names of Nephthys = Nebt-hetW House-Lady, and Hathor = het- 
Heru I^T, Horus-house. 

The urns g called Canopic are grouped in fours in the Egyptian 
tombs. The 4 "genii " or rather gods of these urns were Amseth 
or Mestha (j ^v |JU or ^^ \ (1 (w/a«-headed), Qebhsenut 

fi I ^ (^^'^-headed), Tuaumutef *^"^-=— (V^>&tf/ "-headed), 
and H&pi (^^-headed). The 4 were children of Osiris, and they 
are ordinarily represented in mummy form ; and the 4 urns held 
each a separate portion of the intestines of the mummy in whose 
tomb they were placed : for instance Tuaumutefs held the heart. 
[These I bracket later on, p. 185, with the Four Living Creatures.] 
These urn-gods were also painted in coffins near the head of 
the mummy (second coffin of Shutem^s, Louvre).* They accom- 
pany the central symbol, the tat u (first coffin of Shutem^s, where 

De Roug^ called them funereal genii). 

In a funereal ritual of the i8th d)masty the " basin of [hell] fire " is guarded 
by "4 cynocephalous apes" who were, said De Roug^, "the genii charged to 
efface the soils of iniquity from the soul of the just, and complete his purifi- 
cation." Again he said (of one face of the base of the Luxor obelisk) that 
"4 apes of the species called cynocephalous stand with their arms raised. 
They represent the spirits of the East in adoration before the rising sun." 
If he had added W. N. and S., and left out the sun, he would have been nearer 
the truth. Dr. Wallis Budge now informs me that it is accepted that they are 
the cardinal points. 

One of the ceremonies of the great heb or pan^guris of Amen 
was to call 4 (wild ?) geese by the names of the 4 funereal genii, 
and then to let them fly towards the 4 points of the horizon.' 
This IS an important proof in the argument I am here developing. 

These 4 urn-gods, again, may be the "4 Lares-gods revered by the 
Egyptians: Anachis, D>Tnon, Tychis, and H^ros," who used to puzzle the 
savants of the past.^ 
Besides these 4 gods, the 4 urns also had female protectors in 

Isis, Nephthys, Neith, and Selk* O^'^^Si^ J. These goddesses 

* Records of the Past, vi, 113. 

* E. de Roug^ Notice Sommaire (1876), pp. 107, 106, loi, 54. 

* Pierret, Diet, 388. ♦ Noel, Diet, de la Fable, 1803, i, 87. 
' Pierret, Diet, 115. 

Digitized by 


i6o The Night of the Gods, [Axis 

(or three of them) are of the first rank ; why not also the urn-gods 
with the strange names ? And would not these (4 -f 4 =) 8 be one 
version of the 8 ;^emenn(i (seep. 166) ? 

Some of these urns, of an enormous size,i seem to have been 
used in the HapI-buU tombs. They were at times made of wood, 
finely painted. Nut the heavens-goddess sometimes replaced 
Neith as a guardian. If, as it seems to me they must, the 4 guards 
(or dual guards) clearly refer to the 4 cardinal points, we have 
still a curious survival with us in the phrase '* scattering his dust 
to the 4 winds of heaven." 

I think we can detect a very similar conception among the 
Siibbas or Mandoyo of Mesopotamia, who say that the four 
ShambCib^ are buried at the four cardinal points, and guarded by 
four angels. These shambdlb^ are the principles of the winds, and 
if they escaped the world would be overtufned.^ This burial 
must also be connected ^with the archaic sacrificial biirial-alive of 
human beings under the foundations of bridges, fortresses, and so on. 

Perhaps few will contest the conclusion I am about to draw : 
that in these Cardinal entrails-deities we have the explanation of 
the hitherto most puzzling fact in Latin mythology that the 
essentially popular goddess Cardea, Carda, or Dea Cardinis was 
prayed-to, sacrificed and feasted*to, in order to obtain immunity 
from internal complaints the whole year through. She was asked 
to fortify the heart, the kidneys, and all the viscera. 

(No doubt there was also here too a connection of the carnal and the 
Cosmic omphalos, which we shall see more fully in the section on "The 

SeyfTert's recent Dictionary says " it is doubtful whether she is 
to be identified with the goddess Carna," but no foundation is 
stated for this doubt. Carna*s first temple was founded on the 
Mons Caelius, in mythic times of course ; and this mountain is, in 
myth, the heavens-mountain. The annual sacrifice was on the ist 
of June, and of a sow, the flesh .of which was eaten with beans, 
which (in passing) gives us our bean-feasts. (See also Cardo, under 
"The North.") 

It is odd that the above urn-god H^pi and Ptah's Hapi, the Bull, seem to 
have a hieroglyphic connection : ^ 

Hipi, one of the Cardinal deities, m 

> De Roug^, Not, Scm. 59, 67, 104. 

• Siouflfi, /^eli^, des Saubhas ou SMens^ 61. See also what is said about the pillar- 
windgods, under the head of ** The Dual Pillars." 

Digitized by 


Afyihs.l^ The Cardinal Points. '^i 

9ap (Apis) J $ ^ and J ^ ^. 

gap, Hapi (NUe) ^ "^ ^^ and ? g^ l=r and ? j^ . 

The ^ in the cardinal Hapi's and bull Hap's names clearly refers to the 
[f^ in the title of these four genii, " lords of the kebs (or angles) of heaven," 
"^JlP (Pierret: Vocab,t\i\ 

Here, I suggest, we have a most archaic origin for the Free- 
mason's square,i and these four comers exactly concord with the 
Chinese absolute conception of a square Earth and a square altar 
of Earth, while that of the Heavens is round. W6n-tzu (4th cent. 
B.C.) said *' Earth is square but unlimited, so that no man can see 
its portals." Hwai Nan-tzu wrote ** the goddess Nu-Kua bears on 
her back the square Earth, embracing with her arms the circle of 
the sky " — ^a curious inversion of the Egyptian Nut bending over 
Earth-Seb (see pp. 87, 158). The marriage of heavens and earth, 
that is of O and □ produced all things (which brings us again to 
the Yin and the Yang). The Chinese cash, the round coin with the 

©square hole thus becomes supremely symbolic, and denotes 
also a perfect man.* This is not, of course, as Prof. Schlegel 
reminds me, the origin of the form of the cash. 

In the A vesta the battle between Thra^taona the son of the 
Waters, the Firegod, and Azhi Dahdka the fiendish snake, takes 
place in cathrugaosho Varend (4-cornered Varena).* In the Vedas 
Traitana wages .the corresponding battle in catur-ashrir Varuno* 
(4-pointed Varuna). This of course is the cardinally divided 
heavens, and is too a connexion of Varuna Varena with Ovpavo^y 
as meaning the whole vault. [These points become horns in 
RigVeda iv, 58, 3 : "four are hia horns."] 

We have now, I think, overwhelming^ evidence of the identity 
of these four Egyptian Lords of the four Angles of the heavens 
with the four cardinal celestial Beings dealt with at p. 184. 

It seems to me, too, that this gives us the origin of the confusion 
about the term *' Canopic," which may be unravelled as follows : — 

I. Keb, angle, i3as above a\ p. Angle is also kenb ^j^ J P and 
[j~' alone. Here clearly we have to do with the right angle, one of the four 
angles of a true square. Keb or Kenb also appears as Kajy /^ ^ J Jt "^ ^^^ 

* Compare hept, a squajw, a rectangle A ° and [po. 

* H. A. Giles : Historic Chiim^ 385. • Darmesteter's Z, A. i, Ixii > ii, 298. 
< RigV, i, 152, a. 


Digitized by 



The Night of tJie Gods. 


a phrase as " the establishing of his four Kat like the pillars of the heavens."* 
It would appear that Keb, Kenb and Kat are merely dialect differences ; for 

the word for arm, Keb ^ U ^ and ^^ ^ (which perhaps me^s the arm 

as bent at the elbow) appears also as Ka^. 

2. Keb ^ J ^ is also a vase, and Kebh ^ J )[ |y is a sacred libation- 
vase ; Khebkheb •! ©J t7 is also a vase. Another obvious reason of the 
confusion with the vase-idea was, of course, the putting of the entrails into the 
four urns. "An Egyptian god with a human head covered with the atef 

/ f ^KSv and whose body has the form of a vase 5 *s supposed to be 

Canopus," says M. Pierret {Dicf. 115). 

3. Now return to the " lords of the angles " (or four comers) ; neb ^^37 and 
y J and nebi /wwvs J (|(] Jl mean lord, in the supreme sense we are in want of 

And neb v ^ also means the All. If there could have been the word KalJ^-neb 

for these cardinal deities, the confounding with Kava>/3or or Kavwiros and 
Canopus would be put out of all practical doubt The Egyptian name of Kavmros 
(in the Decree of that ilk) is Pekuathet a ^ { O* It seems too that there 
subsists a Coptic name for the place, Kahen-nub = golden soil' Brugsch and 
Mariette' point out a Kanup ft ^ O in the 7th nome, as an Egyptian transcrip- 
tion of the Greek Kaya>/3of . 

It might be added in passing that this view of these four 

Powers may throw the required light on the mysterious glyph 

which has been read vemennu, eight (Zeitschrift 

^■*^y^-p"^^ 1865, 26), The crossing curves of this glyph are 

T%/\jtT ^^''^"6^'y ^^^^ ^^ divisions of the sphere in a 12th 

^^ ^*i^ century (Spanish) Manuscript Latin commentary 

on the Apocalypse in the British Museum (Anonymi Com- 

mentarius in Apocalypsin, Add. ii, 695), which gives the four 

beasts winged and "full of eyes," perched 
upon wheels which are also full of eyes ; 
but the " wheels " bear a very striking 
resemblance to celestial globes. I ap- 
pend a rough sketch of one of these 
I " globes " ; and it seems worthy of 
remark that the 4-armed circle so fre- 
quent on Dr. Schliemann's Hissarlik 
whorls (see "The Chakra" and "The 
Suastika" later on) occurs on them 

> FouiUes d Abydos, 50: 15 (Pierret's Vocab, 613). 

« Guignaut's Creuicr. ii, 311 /^ ,, \ ^^ K^^, Y2>^\ = tcwa. 

• Dtndirah^ iv, 75, io» 

Digitized by 


Myths ^ The Cardinal Points. 163 

This emblem seems to me to be indicative of the revolving wheel 
or sphere — a sort of compound suastika — and not to be a " cuttle- 
fish," as has been conjectured by some. The resemblance of the 
main curves to a double (and crossing) yin-yang division (see " The 
Tomoye ") is also very strange. Or, again, are they 4 wings ? 

As to Tuau-Mut-ef (on p. 159) ^ J^ *^— - ^, it must first be 
noted that ^ is the determinative (when used as such) of " a star, a 
constellation, a god."^ Then the syllabic value of -j^ is tua. The 
likeness to the modem French dieu (Picardy diu ; Franche-Comt6 
due ; Catalan deu ; Old French deu) may be not alone assonant 
but radical. If so, we get a straight and immediate connexion of 
deus, itb^, dyo, with a star. To follow this up : 

tuau = to praise, glorify, adore * "^ | ^^ ^ '^ 

^u =t adorer ^ >5 m 

neter tuau n Amen = ador^w of Amen "] ^J{^ \ ^^ the priestess cf 
Amen. An hereditary title going-back to the Theban kings, and 
appearing to be attached to their legitimate family. (J. de Rouge 
Rev, Arch, 1865, ii, 323.) 

neter ^uau = divinely to honour H "* >S 

pa ^u = consecration-chapel of the kings (literally house pf god) ^ 

tuau = unction-oil ^Tj V^ ^ 
Then we have 

Tuau-t = the under hemisphere )lc jg^ ^^ ^^^ ® CD 

tuauti = dweller in under hemisphere ^ ^ ^ J] and ^y^ HI] Irrr^a 
These last will astonish no one who follows what is said in this Inquiry (see 
Index) as to fallen gods, and the Egyptian conception of the nether world c| 
the dead. We have, too, an analogue in our own tongue, where Deus has 
become the deuce, a very devil.* We have also 

tua, duau = Time, the hour, morning, <-"*^ S^ J and )*( ^ ^ and 

Tua ^91^ ^s ^^^ s^^^ (Pierret*s Vocab. 703) to be the " God of the 
Morning^ but it is not explained why he is especially made the god 
of the morning alone ; he ought at least to be Time, or the Heavens- 
god, generally. 
(It must not be omitted that the star )lc was also read seb, a star, and had 
» Dr. Birch's Egyptian Texts, p. 98, 

« C/.alsoSyriac CUj» IcLiJ Sans- ^ ^fioc.Dtus, Pers. ^.*^ (Dr. Wallis Budge). 

L 2 

Digitized by 


1 64 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

the letter and syllable values of s and s^d. fu §=9 ^^^ meant mountain, and 
0:^3 the determinative for mountain, spelt ^u as well as )k did.) 

Tua ri 5 is a pillar. 

Tefi g^ I'l A "^^a^s self-motion, and it seems to me that the primary 

self-motion was that of the heavens. This would make the goddess Tefout ^ ^ 

simply the revolving Nut ^-^ and ^-^ ^ and as we have Shu and Tefhut 
as children of Ri, and as Shu is most probably an Atlas, we should thus have 
the Axis-god and the Heavens-goddess that revolves around it brother and 
sister, which is good mythology. Tef ^^ or ^^ is father, and tefoeter 
T ^^ is divine-father, which seems a direct parallel to DiesPiter. Tef, father, 
is also atef (| ^^ which gives atef-neter "] l| ^^ [Note the serpent in 
all these.] Now the very composite divine head-dress atef ^ ^^ must be 
intimately connected with all this. There is also a tree atef ^ ^^ or 
^ x^"^ 2"*^ * blade (sacrificial, or the heavens-sword ?) atef ^ ^^ 

To return from this excursus about the Egyptian cardinal gods 
to the Four Cardinal Points, we find that in the extremely archaic 
Chinese Shi-King (Odes-book), which is supposed to be all pre- 
Confucian though collected by or in the name of that sage, the 
Emperor Siian (827 B.c) praying for rain says he has never failed 
to make offerings to the Cardinal points and the Earth-gods.* 

The south temple of T*ien, the heavens, at Peking is approached 
by 4 separate sets of stairs at the cardinal points ; while the North 
temple has 8, in relation with the Pa-kwa, 8 diagrams,* or directions. 
In the centre of a ceiling in the Shintd temple of Sengen at 
Shidzuoka in Japan, is carved a "dragon of the four quarters, 
shihd no ri6 " ; and on New-year's morning the worship of the 
Four Quarters is an important ceremony in the Mikado's palace.* 
The Chinese expression " to the four sides" is. used in the Japanese 
7th century Kojiki^ to mean in every direction, just like our own 
" to the four quarters." 

An important passage of the Rig Veda (iv, 58, 3) says : " May 
the 4-homed (chatuh-sringah) Brahm4 listen .... 4 are his 
horns, 3 are his feet, his heads are 2, his hands are 7. The 
triple-bound showerer roars aloud, the mighty deity has entered 
amongst men." Among the interminable illustrations of this 
by the HindCl commentators, one can pick out the 4 horns as the 

> ShuJCtng^ iii, 3, 4. * Simpson's Meeting the Sun^ 179, 183. 

* Satow and Hawes, Handbook^ 68, 352. Chamberlain's, p. 175. 

Digitized by 


Myths,'] The Cardinal Points. 165 

4 cardinal points ; the 2 heads as day and night (?) ; and the 7 
hands as the 7 rays (stars ?). But the 2 heads may rather refer to 
the north and south poles, and to the general principle of duality ; 
and the 3 feet doubtless (like the 3-legged symbol still extant in 
the Isle of Man) refer to the 3 footsteps on heaven, earth and hell. 

Brahm^ is otherwise called chatur-^nana or chatur-mukha, four- 
faced ; and the four kum^ras are his sons. The expression of "the 
four-armed god" indicates Bhagavat (Vishnu) in the Bhdgavata- 
purana (i, 7, 52). In Chinese Buddhism are the four mah^r^jas who 
guard the world against the attacks of the Asuras, says Mr. H. A. 
Giles '} but I fancy these are rather the four d^varajahs or t'ien wang 
55 i who guard the four slopes of Mount M^ru, and protect Budd- 
hist sanctuaries.* These are also the Siamese Buddhist's four 
guardians of the world : Thatarot = Skt Dhritar^shtra (E), Wiru- 
lahok, Viriidhaka (S), Wirupak, Viriip^ksha (W) and Wetsuwan, 
V^igravana (N). Their palaces are in the Yukon thon annular 
range of mountains which surrounds central M^ru,* and must thus 
be horizonal. One may theorise perhaps that the Freemasonic 
"Quatuor Coronati" are not undescended from all these great 
quartettes. There is a church of the Quatuor Coronati in Rome. 
And that huge four-poster the Universe has its analogue even in our chil- 
dren's " litde beds," and in the nursery prayer : 

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, 
Bless the bed that I Ja^r on. I ^e^ 

The Bombay Gazette Budget of 31st Jan., 1891, informs us that "An Ameri- 
can novelty is the Ritualist's bed, very handsome in brass, fitted with niches 
for saints, statues, holy-water fonts, and a candlestick at each of the four 
comers. It is expected that it will specially attract the Spanish Catholics, who 
have leanings towards the devotional in their bed-rooms " (see p. 238 infra). 

The King of Hungary on his coronation rides to an eminence^ 
and there brandishes his sword towards the four quarters. In Irish 
myth, Finn sat on the highest point of a hill (Collkilla or Knoc- 
kainy) viewing the four points of the sky. One of Mailduin's 
islands is divided into four parts by four walls — of gold, silver, 
copper, and crystal — meeting in the centre. There were four tribes 
of Lochlann the Northern Kingdom of the De Dananns. The 
Fianna (Fenians) were divided into four battalions. And we seem 
to detect the Chinese Jive in the five provinces of Erin, and the 
statement that Grania bore Diarmait four sons and one daughter.* 

* Historic China, 280. • Mayers, Manual, p. 310. ■ Alabaster's Wheel of the Law, 178, 
* Dr. Joyce's Old Celtic Romances, 139, 178, 220, 227, 349, 333. 

Digitized by 



The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

THE NUMBER EIGHT. The sacredness of the Number 
Eig-At seems chiefly if not wholly to follow from that of the 
number Four, as being formed by the addition of the 4 half- 
cardinal to the 4 cardinal points. 

The Eight "elementary" gods of Egypt, the (;^emennu) 
i!!! o^ uu ^^^ really four twos, four male and female or dual 
pairs. Their names often vary. An inscription of EdfQ (Deb, 
Apollonopolis Magna) called them " the most great of the first 
time ; the august who were de/ore the gods ; children of Ptah 
issued forth of him, engendered to take the North and the South 
[that is the Universe], to create in Thebes and in Memphis ; the 
creators of all creation." Sesun or ;^emennu l]P q^ or = = q^ 
as the name of Hermopolis, relates to these 8 gods who assisted 
Thoth in his office of orderer of the creation.^ See also the mention 
of these ;^emennu at pp. 160, 162, and the 8 hawk-headed celestial 
figures at Dend^rah, p. 158. 

" The Akhimous seem to have been the astra plan6mena and the apland 
astra of the Egyptians, who deified them and confided to them the towing of 
the barque in which the sun traverses the heavens. See the Book of the Dead^ 
XV, 2 ; xxii, 2 ; xcviii, 3 ; cii, i ; Ixxviii, 28." So said M. Pierret*s Dictionnaire. 
M« Gr^baut, reporting on the great subterranean discoveries of sarcophagi at 
Thebes (Deir el Bahari) this year, writes* that " the AkhinuHi that some thought 
were stars are quadrupeds which draw the solar barque. There are 8 of them, 
4 white and 4 black. Each group of 4 contains 2 white and 2 black. They 
are not jackals. Those of one group have the ears of the uas sceptre ** (sec 
supra^ p. 57). These must be zodiacal powers ; and I suggest that the barque 
was (if at all) not originally that of the sun, but the Heavens-boat, or ship. 
(As to the black and white, see " The Arcana.") Does the word axim belong 

to ax ^^ to raise up, support, suspend ; which also, with the deter- 

minative for wing ^^, meant to fly, to hover. 

I must not here omit to mention the Eight Vasus, forms of fire 
or light, protectors and regulators of the 8 regions of the world, 
who figure in Hind(i mythology next to Brahm^, and have Indra 
for chief.* The G^yatrt or forepart of the ancient HindCl sacrifice 
consisted of 8 syllables.* 

The 8-comered sacrificial post or stake of the same sacrifice, and the 
8- sided silver pillar of Mailduin*s Voyage are dealt-with (as Axis-symbols) 
under the head of " The Pillar" ; and we have just seen at p. 157 the 8 bricks 
in each of tbe 4 pillars at Tello. See also the evolution of the typical 

* lUerrei: Diet. 200, 258. ' Academy^ 7th March, 1891, p. 240. 

' Sir Monier Williams, Hinduism, 167. * Eggeling'8 Sat. Brdhm. 313. 

Digitized by 



The Cardinal Points. 


Egyptian octagonal pillar from the squared post, same page. Other similar 
facts may be found by the Index. As to the 8-angled stone of the Bektishi 
dervishes' convent-hall, see p. 128. See also the 8 sets of stairs to the North 
temple of the heavens at Peking, p. 164 ; the famous octagonal tower of 
the Winds at Athens under the heading of " The Tower," the octagonal temple 
at Nara, p. 171 ; and the 8-pointed star-minars of India under the head of "The 

The Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem is an octagonal building, 
which never had more than 4 piers in its inner and 8 in its outer 
circle of columns. Between each of the inner 4 piers are 3 
columns, and between each of the outer 8 are 2 columns ; that is 
16 compass-points are marked in the inner and 24 in the outer.^ 

About half-an-hour to the S. W. of Baalbek, on the road to 
Shtdra, is the village of DClris, with the " Kubbet Diiris," which I 
here figure from a photograph bought by me from M. Dumas at 
Beyrout. Baedeker's description of it is unsufficing and too 

» Pai. IHlgrims' Text See. 1888, p. 46. 

Digitized by 



T/ic A'igki of ihe Gods. 


depreciative. He calls it "a ruin," though it looks complete 
enough, and says 

It is a modem Ufeiy [that is, a Moslem saint's tomb], built of ancieiit materials, 
and adorned mih 8 finecolunins of graniie^over which the builder has ig^norantly 
placed an architrave* A sarcophagus standing on end was used as a recess for 
prayer^ {Pakstine and Syria ^ 1876, p. 501). 

I venture to object to the words * adorned' and * ignorantly,' 
and to the explanation of the * sarcophagus/ Dr. Wallis Budge 
saw the *' little building'* last year (1890), he informs me. The 
symbolism of the 8 pillars, and the octagonal form, are, for me, 
unmistakeable ; and although I am unable to be precise as to the 
aspect of the sarcophagus, the structure is so typical and suggestive 
that I have no hesitation In illustrating it now for further attention. 

Ya, eight, in Japanese mythology and ancient linguistic usage 
means also many or numerous ; and the controversies on this 
subject are easily allayed by taking the universe-al sense of the 
8 points of the compass, of the heavens — the Chinese A jt ^ 
fang — to be the governing Initial sense in the attribution of the 
meaning * many ' to ya. 

Thus " the 8-forking road of the heavens "^ seems to he the 
centre where the cardinal and half-cardinal lines cross ; for " tker^ 
was a kami whose refulgence reached upwards to the Plain of the 
high-heavens (tak'ama no Hara), and downwards to the centre- 
land of the reed-Plain (ashiHara-no-naka tsu kuni; that is Japan, 
which I maintain to be here a figure of the Earth), Japan is also 
the great 8-tslands country, oho ya-shima kuni, which is of course 
a figurative cKpression answering to the 7 dwipas or ''insular-con- 
tinents '* of the Hindis. 

The S-breadths^-crow, ya-ta-garasu' {Kojiki, 1 36), as a heavens- 
bird is a black-night foil to the ya-hiro (8-breadth^) white Chi-bird 
into which {ibid, 22 1) Yamato-dake changes/ White, as I so often 

* Chamberlain^s Kajiki^ p. 107. 

' 7a or /^, hand^ andj as with as, a. measure ; hence here breadth, /frra, broad* 
the brea*lth of the outstretched nxm^ and hands, a fathom. Mr, Aston considers Ya-hifO 
to mean " of enormous size ; '■ ta to be apan^ and Air& fathom, * Many ' is for him tlifi 
original} and * eight * the second aiy> sense of ya. 

» Mr. Aston is deaUng with this bird in his forthcoming translation of the Nih^ngit 
which will be a book of the greatest importance in Japanese mythologjr. 

* In Greek myth Kuknos { ~ CycnusJ by one account turns into a swan wh^n he has 
been killed by Achilles. In another legend Kuknos has his white haira changed 10 
feathers in old age, and he becomes a sw*an. In another stoiy Cycnus plunges into the 
sea and becomes a swan* On the geneial belief that souls become birds, see the section 
on ** Divine Birds,'* 

Digitized by 


Myths.^ The Cardinal Points. 169 

shall have here to make good, is one of the great mythic colours of 
the heavens. The Chinese say that the 8 fang are on the back of 
the divine Tortoise* ; and these of course correspond again to the 
8 trigrams of the map on the back of the horse sent forth by the 
Ho (Yellow) River; and to the 8 pairs of elephants that uphold 
the Hinda Earth. 

There are carved in the centre of a ceiling at the Shintd temple 
of Sengen at Shidzuoka a " dragon of the eight quarters, happ6 no 
rid" and another of the four quarters, shihd no rid.* Ya-hiro 
wani, the 8-breadth crocodile into which the princess Toyo-tama 
(plenty-jewels?) changes (Kojiki^ 127) and the "8-forked serpent, 
ya-mata orochi, of Koshi," who has only one body with 8 heads 
and 8 tails, whose leng^ extends over 8 valleys and 8 hills, and 
on whom grow forests {ibid. 61), belongs clearly to the same 
imagery, though perhaps to the infernal half of it. 
In that case, Koshi, a word which has puzzled the commentators, may be 
equivalent to yomi (darkness) which Motowori said was an underworld, and of 
which yaso kumade, 80 road-windings, is another alias. If Koshi = yomi, 
then the first syllable may be the archaic " ko, dark-coloured, thick." In other 
passages of the Kojiki (343, 76, 103) " the land of Koshi " is put in apposition 
to " the land of 8-islands." (Mr. Aston thinks Koshi = " the beyonds ; " and 
the verb koshi, being " to cross-over," may here indicate a Buddhist sense, such 
as our " the other shore." Sanskrit gata, cross-over, is mimicked in Chinese 
Buddhism as kitai, and in Japanese as giyate.) 

The "8 gates" {ibid, 62,64, iii) would be embraced in the 
same supernal explanation ; and so would the " 8-fold heavens- 
clouds " and the " 8 clouds and 8-quarters (or 8-sided) fence, ya 
kumo and ya-he-gaki ; " the fence being the firmament 
I here insert a suggested word-for-word rendering of the much-tried verse at 
p. 64 of Mr. Chamberlain's Kojiki : 

Ya kumo UUsu, Eight clouds rise up, 

idsu-mo ya-he-gaki, the eight-sided holy-quarters fence. 
Tsutna-gomi ni As a bourn-enclosure 

ya-he-gaki tsukuru^ the eight-sided fence is made, 
sono ya-he-gaki wo, that eight-sided fence, O. 

{Idzu holy ; mo face, direction ; the idzu mo are the eight points ; tsumoy 
edge, border, the horizon-boundary. It has hitherto been considered that tsuma 
must be understood as meaning wife. Komi to shut-in ; he ^ be =• side, 
direction, quarter.) 

This verse is introduced by these prefatory words : " So thereupon [Take-] 
Haya-Susa no Wo no Mikoto sought in the region of Idzu-mo for a place where 
he might build a palace. Then he arrived at the place of Suga .... and 

> G. Schlegel, Uranoz. Chi. 6i, citing the Shih i Kt, 
' Satow and Hawes, Handbooky 2nd ed. 68. 

Digitized by 


I70 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

in that place he built a palace to dwell in. So that place is now called Suga. 
When this great deity first began to build the Suga-palace, clouds rose up 
thence. Then he made a sacred hymn. That hymn said : " (here follows the 
above verse). 

The real derivation of Suga is unknown, says Mr. Chamberlain. But I suggest 
that it here simply bears its ordinary meaning of a rush, and is a parallel to the 
Ashi or reed which gives its name to Japan (that is the Earth) as the ashi-hara 
or reed-plain. The Suga-palace, rush-palace, is thus the heavens, which the 
deity is making, and suga and ashi, rush and reed, are both symbols of the 
Axis* This deity's name means High- Swift- Impetuous, which I suggest is a 
(revolving) heavens-god's name (see also p. 224 infra\ 

A similar symbolism must (see " The Arcana ") be suggested 
for the 8-meshed basket of the Idzu-shi (holy or magic stone) river- 
island.^ " She took a one-jointed bamboo from the river-island of 
the river Idzu-shi, and made a basket of 8 meshes." In the one- 
jointed bamboo {taie = mountain, and high, as well as bamboo) I 
see an axis-symbol like the ashi and the suga. 

Again in the chapter of Mr. Chamberlain's Kojiki which tells 
of the " abdication " of the great Earth-Master Oho Kuni-nushi, 
who " disappears in the fence of green branches " (that is, in the 
Universe-tree as I suggest), we have a kami who has been a great 
riddle, the Master of the 8-quarters (or 8-sided) Shiro (area, 
enclosure, castle) ya-he-koto Shiro nushi, which on my theory 
would be a name of the heavens-god. The " 8-breadth (hiro) hall 
without doors " {ibid. 118) seems to be an octagonal heavens-palace 
figfure of speech. The occasional prefix Tsumi-ba to Shiro-nushi's 
name, may then mean "heaped-up things "*= the material universe 
{ibid. loi, 82) ; and Kushi-ya-tama becomes an alias of his, as 
being Wondrous-8-jewel (or ball). Kushi ya tama is the grandson 
of a Japanese Poseidon, the kami of the Water-gates, Minato 
{ibid. 104). The "8-saka curved jewel" {ibid. 108, 55,46) seems 
also a figure of the hollow heavens ; and this ya-saka no maga 
tama may also be interpreted " 8-mountained curved sphere." The 
kami Tama no ya {ibid. 55) seems to be merely another form of 
Ya-tama. Futo-tama (if futo be here = great, sacred) would appear 
to be another alias {ibid. 56, 108). The ya ta kagami then 
becomes, as Motowori said, an octangular mirror {i.e. the heavens) 
and Moribe's exposition also holds good about the mirror having 
an 8-fold pattern round its border {ibid* 56).* I think too that the 

^ Kojiki^ 263. * Or beginning and end, tsuma-ha? 

* Mr. Aston says on this that a passage in the Nihongi (reign of Jing6) speaks of a 
J^ ^ mirror, that is a mirror with seven little ones. Where the older Japanese legends 

Digitized by 



The Cardinal Points. 


ya hiro hoko (Kojiki^ 2 10) should be rendered 8-breadth ue. octagonal 
spear, and that it may mean the Axis. 

The yatsu-fuji, or 8-fold wistaria of the hereditary high-priests, 
then easily follows ; and so does ya hata, eight standards, as a title 
of the war-god Hachiman ; and the octagonal mountain Fudaraku 
(P6tala ?) the favourite resort of Kwannon, and her octagonal 
temple at Nara, with her statue on the North side.* All these last 
are Buddhist assimilations. 

The Eight Japanese gods of heavens-mountains {ibid. 33, 31) 
then disclose themselves as cardinal and half-cardinal gods of the 
heavens-mountain ; and the number of the " eight gods who were 
supposed to be in a special sense the protectors of the Mikado " 
thus seems to be explained.* And we also have {ibid. 261) the 

8 kamis or the 8-fold kami of Idzushi (= magic-stone ; query the 
magnet }). Of course the 8 gods (sh^n) A jp^^ are also Chinese, 
and there are the 8 Immortals, sien j[Jj, of the Taoists. 

All this seems fully to illustrate the manner in which the 
cosmic (but artificial) eight came to represent the Cosmos, and 
thus to show why ya got to mean " many, numerous, all." But 
this can be proved much more thoroughly. 

Just as the Roman plotting-out and mensuration of land was 
taken (see " The North ") from their augural delimitation of the 
holy templum, so the Chinese carried their sacred cosmic divisions 
into their Land Acts and the divinations of their fengshui. The 
cultivated land was in squares of 900 mdn ( 1 36 
acres) called a tzing, which was subdivided into 

9 parts thus : 

The 8 exterior squares of 100 m4n (15 
acres) each were cultivated by the holders for 
their own behoof, but the central plot was Shang 
Ti's, that is "God's-acre" ; and its produce went 
in sacrifices to the Supreme Ruler Shang Ti, although it was 

have 'eigbt,' the modem stories have sometimes 'seven.' Ideal with 7+1=8 under 
Eshmiin in ** The Kabeiroi." 

* On the North side of the Buddhist Nan-yen-d6 (south-round -hall) at Nara in Japi^n 
is a colossal sitting Kwannon, the Amogba-pasa Aval6kit£shvara. This '* round " hall 
is really octagonal, in imitation of the fabulous mountain Fudaraku (P6tala) the favourite 
resort of Kwannon. On the South side is a colossal thousand-handed Kwannon. At 
Koya-san is an octagonal building, the Bones-hall, Kctsu-d6, which ri«es over a deep pit 
into which the teeth and '*Adam*s apple'' of the cremated are thrown {Handbook of 
/apoftf 389, 415). * Trans, A. S. J. vii, 123 (Mr. Satow). 









Digitized by 


172 The Night of the Gods, [/Ixis 

generally called the Emperor's field. It was cultivated by the 
whole community of the holders of the 8 squares.^ Now here we 
have the 8 fang lying round the centre, where the Universe-god 
abides, and we see at once how (8 -h i =) 9 ^ C^^u) came to 
mean a "collection, many, all" in Chinese. And as everything 
earthly has its celestial counterpart, the heavens are similarly 
divided into the 9 heavens, kiu T'ien, ^ ^. or 9 fields (of the 
heavens), kiu yeh % J^, of which Hwainan-tsze speaks; the 
central space being called kun T*ien ^ ^, and the diagram being 
circular instead of square.* 

But to go back to the first verse, as it were, of the Chinese 
philosophical Genesis in the Yi King : "The Great Extreme (Tai 
Ki) engenders the two I (laws) Yin and Yang ; these two principles 
engender the four siang (forms) ; the four forms produce the 8 kwa 
^,"* which shows that the number Eight embraces everything 
except the One, Shang Ti (or Tai Ki). And thus pa, eight, in 
Chinese means the whole ; the 8 grains are all kinds of grain, 
the 8 sounds are all the possible notes of music. And the Chinese 
pa is the Japanese ya. 

Mr. Aston informs me that there is a similar correspondence in Corean 
between y^l ten and yoro niany. And this leads me to mention one of the 
most puzzling connexions between ten and nine that I have ever met with. It 
is in an old Irish charm given in one of Lady Wilde's delightful books :* 
" Catch a crowing hen and kill her ; and take ten straws and throw the tenth 
away, and stir her blood with the rest," that is with the remaining nine. I leave 
this to the pondering of many readers ; but it suggests tithes, somehow— just 
the idea we have above in the central square of the Chinese terrier. And it is 
quite opposed to the notion of nine's holiness coming from three threes. 

The King of Siam at his coronation sits on an octagonal 
throne, and changing his seat 8 times, to face the 8 points of the 
compass, repeats each time the formula called the coronation oath ; 
8 stonets are sanctified and placed at the same points round the 
holy of holies of a Siamese Buddhist temple.* 

In the Persian RauzcU-us-Safa^ NCih and his followers amount to 80 souls 
when they enter the Ark. When they come out, they " build a village at the 
foot of the mountain," and call it the " Forum-of-80." Other accounts say 8, 
but 80 is the most correct opinion. This is an indication of the cosmic 
figurativeness of this Ark, which is still further confirmed by another passage 

* Legge*s Lt Kt, i, 228, 255, 210. ' Mayers, Manual, p. J46e 

* G. Schlegel, Uranog, Chi, 246. All this will be fully expounded later on. 

* AncUnt Cures, Charms, and Usages of Ireland, 1890, p. 151. 
» Alabaster's Wheel of the Law, • Pp. 83, 85, 89, 181. 

Digitized by 


Myths J] The Cardinal Points. x73 

saying that " the Almighty fixed two luminous discs, one like the sun and the 
other like the moon, on the wall of the Ark (read the firmament of the heavens) 
and thus the hours of the day and night, and of prayers, were ascertained. 
Ebrahim was circumcised with a (stone) hatchet when he was 80 years old. 
(Remember the 8th day of this ritual). 

The jewel Syamantaka, which Vishnu wears on his wrist, daily produces 
8 loads of gold,* which gives us a doublet of the Norse Draupnir ring. The 
&bulous Sarabha animal, which abides in the Himdlayas, and is also called the 
Utpddaka and the Kunjaririti, has 8 legs, and in that pairs off with Sleipnir 
the 8-legged horse of Odinn. (Refer back to the Japanese octuple or octagonal 
animab above, p. 169.) 

Clemens of Alexandria gave the 8 " great demons " as Apollo, 
Artemis, L^to, D^met^r, Kor^, Ploutdn, H^rakWs, and Zeus 

THE NUMBER TWEL VE. We may also trace the pro- 
gress from 8. to the zodiacal 12, as thus. The dancing-hall 
(sim^-kh^a) of the Mevlevt dervishes is circular, and ought to 
contain 8 wooden columns. This, says the sheikh of Nikosia, 
is not always the case; but see what is said elsewhere of their 
"annexing" the octagonal tower of the winds at Athens. The 
Rufdi dervishes have 8 " gores " or triangles (terks) in their white 
cloth t^j (dome) or cap. The sheikh's t^j has (8 + 4 =) 12 terks, 
which represent the 12 tartgAt or Paths. 4 of these 12 terks are 
called doors, kapu. 

In the square halls of the Bektdshl dervishes is a stone with 8 
angles, called the maiden t^hi, in which at ceremonies stands a 
lighted candle. All round are (8 + 4 =) 12 seats, /(7j/j ox postakts^ 
of white sheep-skin. The founder Haji BektAsh called the candle- 
socket the Eye. The number 12 is in remembrance of the 12 
im^ms, say the Bektishi and the Rufdf, whence it is obvious that 
the imdms must have to do with the 4 plus 8 points of the heavens. 
This would explain the mystic significance of the number 12 
among the BektAsh!, who swear by it, and even ** pay money in 
twelves," whatever that may precisely mean. Perhaps it means 
counting by dozens. Their ordinal of initiation mentions the 12 
who know the 4 columns and the 4 doors. (As to 12-angled stones 
of dervishes, see p. 128.) Of course all the im^ms have human 
names, but the twelfth is Mehd!, who mysteriously disappeared at 
Semara (Sam*l was the heavens-goddess) and will there reappear 

* Wilson's Vishnu Pur^na^ p. 425 ; Dowson's DicU ' Exhort, to'HtlUtia^ ch. 2. 

Digitized by 



The Night of the Gods. 


from a cave, and become the saviour of mankind— a central 
supernal legend which has given so many false " Mahdis '* to the 
Moslem world. All the 12 are sons (or descendants) of Ali — ^that 
is to say, of Allah, 61 or ll — whose 2 sons Hasan and Husfin are 
the Two Eyes.^ There are reckoned 12 original orders of Dervishes. 
A local Srahmantin (= tall-spirit) on the Gold Coast has 12 
heads.* All the Tshi-speaking tribes of this coast are descended 
from 12 totem-families, 4 of which (Leopard, Civet-cat, Buffalo, and 
Dog) are the oldest stock, from which the other 8 are off-shoots. 
Compare the 4 Living Creatures infra. 

There were 12 peoples, populi, of Etruscans.* The 12 Tables 
were the reverend source of the Roman Law ; but it is worthy of 
note that the Athenian 'AttootoXcZ^ were only 10 in number.* 

The Rev. Dr. E.- G. King, D.D.,* shows that the 12 sons of 
Jacob alias IsraEl, who fathered the 12 tribes, are = 4 -|- 8 in 
each of the three lists, as follows : 

Geiu XXXV. Gen, xxix and xxx. Gen, xlix. 

Reuben Reuben Reuben 

Simeon Simeon Simeon 

Levi Levi Levi 

Judah Judah Judah 

























" The first 4 names are the same in each list, and belong to a Jehovist record. 
The children of the concubines form a second group of 4." Dr. King further 
says that Genesis xxxii, 28 should be rendered as follows : " Thy name shall be 
no more Jacob but IsraEl, for thou hast had power (x^zritha) with the Elohim (/>. 
with the angel-host ; Akkadian sar\ and with men thou shalt prevail." That 
Elohtm here denotes the angel-host is evident from Hosea xii, 4, 5 : "he had 
power {sar^) with Elohtm ; yea, he had power (ya^ar) over the angel, and 
prevailed." Dr. King concludes that Jacob wrestled with the Babylonian Sar£ll, 
a personification of the legions or hosts of heaven ; and having conquered him, 
takes the name of his opponent, whose strength thus then passes into him. 
Thus does Jacob become E-sar-£l. 

* Mr. J. P. Brown*8 The Dervishes (passim. Revised for me by the Mevlevl sheikh 
of Nikosia). * Major Ellis*s Tshi-speaking Peoples, 22, 207. 

' Festus, s. V. Tagcs. * Bckker, Anecd. i, 203. • Akkadian Genesis (1888) p. 13. 

Digitized by 


MyihsJ] Th$ Cardinal Points, i75 

Joseph's dream {Genesis xxxvii, 9), which is also in the Persian legends,' 
does actiially identify his 1 1 brothers with 1 1 stars. This is also in the Kordn 
(ch. xii). They also, as Jacob-IsraEl commands, enter into the city by different 
gates,' which, unless a celestial zodiacal allusion, is apparently meaningless 
They sit, with Joseph, 2 at each table, which indicates the 6 X 2 = 12 which 
we so often meet with.* They are also lodged 2 and 2 in a house.' 

The Jews, and the Persian Moslem legends also, say that when Moses 
struck the sea with his rod, it divided into 12 lanes, according to the number of 
the tribes, "having between them walls of water standing out in the air like 12 
vaults. On account of the transparency of the partitions, the tribes were able to 
see each other."* This also is senseless unless when understood of the 
Universe-ocean and the zodiacal divisions, and the paths to those im gates of 
heaven. The 12 large brooks that issue from the rock struck by Moses, one for 
each tribe, are also heavens-rivers. 

IshmaEl has also 12 prince-sons {Gen. xvii, 20) as well as IsraEl, and the 
Hebrew Intelligences of the 12 zodiacal signs are nothing whatever but 12 
Els. Beginning with Aries these are : 

1. MalchidaEl 5. VerchiEl 9. AduachiEl 

2. AsmodiEl 6. HamaliEl 10. HanaEl 

3. AmbriEl 7. ZuriEl 11. GambiEl 

4. MuriEl 8. ZarachiEl 12. BarchiEl. 

I now again direct the reader's attention to the theory that the Eloah was the 
stone idol of the fel the stone-god (pp. 116, 196). Each of the 28 houses of the 
moon has also its El ; but these do not concern us here, except as accentuating 
the general conclusion that the whole Hebrew angelic and arch-angelic host of 
the heavens are Els, every one of them. 
We have besides, among other twelves : 
12 princes of Isra^/ (Num, i, 44). 
12 years' service of the king of -fi'/am (Gen, xiv, 4). 
12 wells (and 70 palmtrees) at Ehva {Ex, xv, 27), 

12 pillars (and an altar) for 12 tribes. (Manifestly celestial, for there is El 
standing on work of bright sapphire, as it were the clear heavens. 
Ex, xxiv, 4, 10.) 
12 stones taken by 12 men for 12 tribes, out of middle of Yardain (Jordan, 

the heavens-river. Joshua iv). 
12 stones to make an altar (i Kings xviii, 31). 
12 (4 X 3) precious stones for 12 tribes {Ex, xxviii, 21 ; xxxix, 14). 
12 (2 X 6) cakes, as offerings to Jehovah {Lev, xxiv, 5). 
12 (6 X 2) oxen, one for each prince {Num, vii, 3). 

12 silver chargers, 12 bowls, i? spoons, 12 bullocks, rams, lambs, and goats ; 
2 X 12 bullocks, 5 X 12 rams, goats, and lambs (for dedication of 
altar, Num, vii, 84, xxix, 17). 
12 rods for the princes of Isra^/ and their fathers' houses {Num. xvii, 2). 
12 brazen bulls and 2 pillars in the house of Jehovah {Jer. lii). 
12 cubits by 12, size of altar-hearth {Ezek, xliv, 16). 

* Rauiot-uS'Safa, 200. * Kordn ch. xii, R-us-S^ 26^^ 265. 

• Sale's Kordn, p. 195. < R-us-S, 337, 369 ; Sale, p. 259. 

Digitized by 


176 The Night of the Gods. . [Axis 

12 thrones of 12 judges {Matt, xix, 28 ; Lu, xxii, 30). 

12 stars, crown of, on pregnant heavens-goddess {Rev. xii, 2). 

12 (4 X 3) gates made of 12 pearls, and having 12 angels (of heavens- 
city, which has 12 foundations. Rev. xxi, 12, 21). 

12 crops or kinds of fruit on Universe-tree of life {Rev. xxii, 2). 
The zodiacal heavenly significance of all this, when it is taken 
together, seems indisputable. There does seem to be an actual 
mention of the "12 signs" in ii Kings xxiii, 5 (Revised Version) 
where the kings of Judah appointed Chemartm to bum incense to 
them (or to the planets). The Athenian altar to the 12 gods was 
in the Affora^ (see p. 155). The 12 peers of Charlemagne and of 
France were 12 equals of the Round Table. 

Sir George Birdwood,* citing Josephus,' makes the breast-plate of Aaron 
{Exod. xxviii) a square zodiacal palladium, and compares it to the HindCi and 
Buddhist talismanic amulet called the nava-ratna or nao-ratan (nine-gems). 
The breast-plate had 12 zodiacal precious stones ; and the shoulder-ouches 
which held it bore the 12 zodiacal names of the 12 children of IsraEl. 

Before the consecration of a church 12 crosses are, in the 
Gallican ritual, painted round the new building, on the pillars or, 
at equal distances, on the walls; and opposite these the bishop, 
when he arrives, causes 12 wax candles to be lit These are still 
expounded as signifying the 12 foundations of the walls of the 
heavens-Jerusalem, on which walls were the 12 names of the 12 
apostles of the lamb {Rev. xxi, 14).* There could scarcely be a 
clearer reference to the firmament of the heavens and its 12 
zodiacal constellations. Of course the 12 (?) apostles afford a new 
point of departure. 

One of Goethe's far-reaching remarks was that as a subject for 
art The Twelve Apostles all look too much like each other.* That 
fits them, at all events, for the no-one-knows-how-old Apostle- 
spoons, and is a result of their ranked duties round the zodiac. 
The number 1 2, like 7, is still everywhere in the East talismanic, 
says Sir G. Birdwood,* and always refers to the signs of the zodiac, 
which are the 12 fruits of the Universe Tree of Life. And 
Stukeley (see " The Winged Sphere " in Vol. 2) pointed out long 
ago that Joshua pitched his 12 stones at Gilgal, that is in the 
round form of a wheel, which gilgal means (or else rotating. In . 
either case the indication is Cosmic), We shall also see the 12 

1 Thucyd. vi, 54. ' Soc of Arts Jmmal^ 18 Mar. 1887. 

• Antiq. cfjewsy iii, vii, 5, 6, 7. ^ Montpellier Catfchisme, iii, 263, 271. 

* Conversations with £^kermann, 16 Mar. 1830, • Ut supra. 

Digitized by 


Myths,'] The Cardinal Points. m 

nidanas of the Buddhist " Wheel of the Law " in the section on 
that subject ; and the twice 12 tirthankaras of the Jains. 

We have already seen that the giyatrt HindCi archaic hymn 
was of 8 syllables or verses. It "was brought up to 12 by repeti- 
tions of the first and last verses."^ Another, an Egyptian, instance 
of the formation of 12 from 8 has been given above, at p. 158. 

There are 8 sons of Aditi (Space, the mother of the gods ?) who were 
bom from her body. With Seven she went to the gods, but M^rttinda she 
cost off*- These 7 were the Adityas, who "in early Vedic times were but 
stx^ or more frequently 7,"* of whom Varuna was ehief, and consequently /A^ 
Aditya. The other five (of the six) were Mitra, Aryaman, Bhaga, Ansa and 
Daksha. The last is frequently excluded, and Indra, Savitri and DhAtri are 
added, which makes up 7. " They are neither sun nor moon nor stars nor 
dawn, but the eternal sustaiAers of this luminous life, which exists as it were 
behind all these phenomena" (Prof. Roth). In later times the number was 
increased to (the zodiacal) twelve. There were three kinds of gods, says the 
SatapathorBrdhmana^ the Vasus, the Rudras, and the Adityas. 

The following notes on celestial numbers in the Odyssey come 
in conveniently here :— 

Scylla had 12 feet all dangling dowh, and 6 necks exceeding long, and on 
each neck a hideous head, Wherein were 3 rows of teeth (Odyss. xii, 89). 12 
choice bulls are a sacrifice to Poseidon (xiii, 180). Telemachos takes 12 jars of 
wine with him — a dozen in short (ii, 353). Odusseus has 12 styes with 50 pigs 
in each = 360, as is actually calculated out {Odyss, xiv, 20), and they are 
g^uarded by 4 dogs. The puzzling axes of Odusseus {Odyss, xix, 580 aftd else- 
where) are i2, and he shoots his arrow through them all. 12 women work at 
his handmills (xx, 108) ; and I2 out of his 50 women-servants are unfaithful with 
the wooers of Penelope (^ii, 426); Odusseus meets IphiTos (Strong-One?) who 
is in search of his 12 broOd mares each with a mule-foal (xxi, 22) ; 12 cloaks of 
single fold, 12 coverlets, 12 mantles and doublets, and 4 women skilled in Work 
are gifts in Odyss, xxiv, 276. 

The sevens are comparatively few (so far as 1 have detected them) in the 
Odyssey. £elios, 'HeXioc^ has 7 herds of kine and 7 of sheep, and 50 in each 
flock (xii, 129). Mar6n son of EuanTh^s gives Odusseus 7 gold talents and a 
bowl of pure silver, and 12 jars of wine, each cup of which took 20 measures of 
water (and as it was red and honey-sweet, we may take it that's the classic way 
to drink Commanderfa). The same or a similar gift is mentioned at xxiv, 274 
as 7 talents, a silver bowl (with the 12 cloaks &c. as just above). If the bowl 
be the heavens, the 7 talents ought to be^ originally, Ursa Major. But in view 
of the paucity of sevens, and the glut of other chronological numbers (108, 52, 
50, 24, 20, 12, 10, 6, 4), it would seem that Odusseus was a zodiacal rather than 
a polar power. (There are some puzzling nines too.) 

And still it is odd that both SisuPhos the real and Laertes the putative 
fether of Odusseus are Stone-gods. SisuPhos rolls one eternally, and Xats = 

" Eggeling*s Satap. Brdhm, 313, 400, 402, 131. * ^igV- x, 72, 8, 

• Dowson*s Diet, The sentence is inexplanatory. * Eggeling's, ii, 350, 


Digitized by 


i?^ The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

stones. The mother of Odusseus too was AntiKleia, which indicates a keystone- 
of-heaven goddess. One version made her daughter of DioKl^s (one of the Four 
of D^M^t^r) ; another said she was daughter to AutoLukos, a wolf-god (or light- 
god ?), who had a magic helmet, was an argonaut and a great athlete, and taught 
H^raK16s (AtLas's understudy) to drive the chariot (of the universe). Auto- 
Lukos was also a Proteus (or First-god) in his form-changing, and ^<t foot- 
prints of cattle figure greatly in his myths. He was either son of Hermds (or 
of Phrixos) and Chalkiop^. 

We shall have the zodiacal 12 bucklers of the Roman Salii later on, and 
also the buckler of Abas 12th tyrant of Argos j and the 12 Chinese bells of 
Hwang-Ti (in " The Number Seven "). Under " The Labyrinth " we shall have 
its 12 halls and the 12 compartments of the Egyptian underworld compared 
with the 12 southern Chaldean constellations of the dead. 

Ptolemy said the alternate zodiacal signs Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, 
Sagittarius and Aquarius were masculine, and the remainder feminine, " as the 
day is followed by the night, and as the male is coupled with the female." Here 
we have duality, and an indication that 12 here ^6x2. 

The Shu-king> makes the primeval fabulous divine emperor Shun sacrifice 
to Shang-Ti in the usual forms, and respectfully and purely to the Six honoured- 
ones "rs ^ the Liu-Tsung, and to mountains, rivers, and spirits. 6 is half 12, 
and this is the earliest form, perhaps, of the 12 zodiacal signs. The Chinese 
hour is double ours, so that day and night have each but 6 hours. This 
seems to have been Roman too, see the section on "Numa Pompilius " in VoL 2. 
All the native and Western inconsistent endeavours to identify these Six Tsung 
are shots, and misses at that It seems to me that they must be the same as the 
Liu Ho /^ ^ or 6 directions, a term which also applies to the 6 pairs of the 
12 cyclical signs.* This term Liu Ho also means the Universe, that is Heavens- 
and-Earth, being the 6 great points of (i) Above and (6) Below, with (2) North, 
(3) South, (4) East, and (5) West In these I should be inclined to see the N. 
and S. poles and 4 points of the year's-round, marked by the longest and shortest 
days, and the equal day and night These 6 directions are elaborately wor- 
shipped in Buddhism also.' 

We have precisely the same idea as above and on p. 184 (of 
taking the North pole as the stand-point for the plotting-out of 
the 4 directions), although somewhat confused, in the Ethiopian 
Book of Enoch, -^ "Thence did I advance on towards tlie North, 
to the extremities of the Earth ; and there I saw a great and 
glorious wonder at the extremities of the whole Earth. I saw 
there heavenly gates opening into the heavens: 3 of them dis- 
tinctly separated. Thence went I to the extremities of the world 
Westwards, where I perceived 3 gates open, as I had seen in the 
North. Then I proceeded " and so forth (killing valueless time, in 

* Lcgge, ii, I, 4. * Mayers, Manual, pp. 322, 329, 351. 

' See the Sig&lowida sutra and Rbys Davids*s Buddhism^ pp. 143 to 147. 
^ Laurence's translation, xxxiii to xxxv, Ixxiv, Ixxv. 

Digitized by 


Myths ^ The Cardinal Points. 179 

Eastern fashion, by endless repetitions) to the South and East 
where the same number of gates are found ; and the total 
(4 X 3 = 12) is of course zodiacal. Plato called the 12 signs the 
gates of heaven. 

It is very strange that in Egypt also there were " The Six,* the hieroglyphic 

of which — — ' is identical with that one of the 8 Chinese kwa which 

belongs to the North (see p. 96). In the 5th dynasty Asesra was ** master of the 
secret (her sesheta) of the mystic words of the grand abode of the Six." In the 
6th dynasty Ouna boasts of having the entree to " the abode of the Six.** In the 
13th, Eimeri was ** chief of the grand abode of the Six of Neverkara." There 
was a feast of the Six, which was on the sixth day of the month. No one 
seems to know anything more as to who these six were.* The unidentified 

town I I I Hebensas ? seems to be connected with this worship. (See the 

six-staged pyramid under " The North.") 

The Twelve AmphiKtuones (or -Ktiones), who represented 12 
tribes of the Greeks, give us a notable parallel to the Jewish 12. 
Their name may mean, as it is generally taken to do, merely 
"dwellers around," in which case it would sufficiently apply to the 
zodiacal constellations ; or might it not mean " dual-supporters," 
possessors or holders (/crecu ; iCT^i/09 beast of burden — still in use 
in Cyprus) ; amphi indicating duality as well as the round about 

The extremely remote antiquity of the Greek religious sanhedrims so-called 
places them in a similar category to the equally zodiacal Salii or the Arvalian 
Brothers of Rome (see both those headings). There was one such avyddpioy at 
D6I0S (as to which typical cosmic island, see p. 31) said to have been founded 
by fJke god Theseus ; from the most ancient times the lonians of the Cydades 
(Kuklades) — the cycling or turning islands — assembled there to celebrate the 
feast of Apolla The similar sacred colleges of Argos and Delphoi met in 
the temples of Apollo ; those of Onchestos, Kalauria and Samikon met in the 
temples of Poseid6n ; that of Amarynthos in the temple of Artemis ; and the 
college of ThermoPyke near the sanctuary of D^Mfitfir, who was also called 
Amphi Ktuonis. 

This last assembly became of course the most notorious, and 
its 12 tribes are, as is well known, almost as difficult though not so 
mythical as the 12 tribes of IsraEL (See also the 12 sons of 
Ndleus, under ** The Dokana.") The double votes in this assembly 
(like the qualifier amphi-) speak to me here of divine duality. 

Its members were of two categories : the hieromndmones or sacred- 
remembrancers, and the pulagorai, formed of irvkfj a gate (which must be the 
» Pierret, DuL 515 ; FiKod, 545, 593, 464. 

M 2 

Digitized by 


i8o The Might of the Gods. {Axis 

Same as plla pillar and pTlum shaft) with dyop^ a term fully dealt-with elsewhere. 
These last were also called agora-troi, which may mean no more than the three 
of the agora, as three pulagoroi (among whom, in his time, iCschines the orator,* 
circa 350 B.c.)'were sent from Athens. The secretary of the Amphiktiones was 
called the hierok^rux or sacred herald. 

The money struck by them had the omphalos of Delphoi on 
One side, with the serpent coiled round it, and Apollo seated 
thereon, holding in his left a laurel-bough. It will be seen that all 
the symbolism and nomination here is centro-cosmic. 

The duties of the Amphiktions were purely pontifical, though 
not apparently sacerdotal. They made the ritual for the festivals 
of Apollo, and for sacrifices ; they proclaimed " the truce of God " 
—still piously believed to have been (as the treuga Dei) of Christian 
and papal inception. I suppose their founding of the f^ythian 
sports because of the killing of the Pythdn, mentioned in the 
Aristotle fragments,* must here find a place, whether as genuine 
myth or as a scrap of history. Their authority was supreme over 
the sanctuary of Delphoi, and they kept Apollo's field or plain of 
Kirrha uncultivated. They also exercised precisely the functions 
of the Turkish Evkaf in administering all properties dedicated to 
benevolent uses. They guarded their boundaries {^poi^ see Index) 
and thereon inscribed the talismanic symbol of Apollo*s tripod* or, 
as we may now irreverently call it, his 3-legged stool, to mark his 
property. And this affords me a highly respectable origin for the 
famous Broad Arrow ^ of our English Ordnance.* 
Wharton*s Lcnv Lexicon registers the loose suggestion that this was " the ^ or 
A, *the broad a' of the Druids **— which carries a smile rather than conviction 
with it. Others have pointed out a barbed dart*head in the arms of Lord 
Sydney (afterwards Earl of Romney) Master-General of the Ordnance 1693- 
1702. But there was a Master-General from 1604, and Masters of the Ordnance 
^rom Richard the Third's time (see Mr. Denham Robinson's War Office Ust), 

AmphiKtuon, son of Deukalidn and Pyrrha, and father of 
Itdnos,* cannot— no matter what the commentators have said — be 

* iEsch. Agst KtisiphSn, 117. * Didot*s Frag. Hist. Grac. ii, 189* 
' Wescher, Mhn^ des savants Strangers prisenUs h tAcad. des Inscrip. tome viii. 

^ I point to this with no little pleasure, as I began my working life — ^under the kindly 
Bway of Lof d Emly — where the sounding motto of the good old Ordnance Office, sua tela 
tonanti (granted by royal warrant of 19th July 1806, as Mr. C. H. Athill, the Richmond 
Herald, kindly informs me) still remains in letters of iron. I think I can support my 
theory from the Laws of the Visigoths, viii, 6(1) and x, 3 (3) which direct boundaries 
to be marked by blazing trees with three divisions or cuts (decurias) : ** faciat tres 
decurias" — *' in arborlbus notas quas decurias vocant, convenit observari.*' 

* Theopompos, /rag. 80 ; Apoll. Bibl. i, 7, 2, 7. Simdnides of Ke6s (556 to 
514 B.C.) made Itdnos the father of the sisters Ath£na and loDama ; the second being 

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Myths ^ The Cardinal Points. x^i 

put out of this myth. By another account he was autochthonous,^ 
which would sort well with my cosmic requirements. EriChThonios 
(see "The Arcana") expelled AmphiKtuon after a twelve years' 
reign.^ AmphiKtuon put up an altar to Orthos Dionusos in the 
temple of the Hours (Hdrai).' This upright (orthos) supreme 
power I shall take leave to consider an axis-god ; and the temple 
of the hours then at once becomes the heavens of the i2-divisioned 
zodiac of the Amphiktuones. 

The legend about Dionusos commanding this AmphiKtuon to make a law or 
canon that water was to be put in the (sacrificial ?) wine, after the wine had 
been first tasted in its purity, is strange enough, and merits pursuit. The 
ancients brought it in her^ (see Philochoros in loc, cit). 
AmphiKtuon's brother was named HellSn.* AmphiKtuonfi, 
daughter of Phthios, consort of Asterios, and mother by him of 
D6tis,* must also be placed among the stars of this celestial myth. 
Upon all these evidences, then, I think that it is scarcely wise, or 
possible, to discard the ancient belief that the amphiktiones or 
ktuones took their name from this very superior personality among 
the gods.* Or if I put it this way : that the name in both cases 
must have had an identical cosmic divine origin, perhaps there will be 
few objectors. But we must not lose sight of the 12 sons of NSleus, 
I think this receives strengthening from th^ related names (for di here = ampki) 
of the Centaur DiKtus and of the Cretan DiKtaion ^pos (mountain), ajso called 
DiKtd, while Zeus, qr rather Zan, was DiKtaios. The name that survives for the 
mountain nowadays is Lasthi, where one would wish to discern Xaf a stone, and 
theos. The Cretan DiKtunnaion oros is connected with the goddess DiKt6 or 
DiKtunna (which was a surname of Artemis), who in avoiding Min6s threw 
herself €U fU-icrva (Strabo, x), which I want to read as * from the dual-support ' (= 
double pillar) of thp heavens (see the section on this, later). Thus, recollecting 
that Crete is in cosmic myth the Earth (see p. 138 suprd)^ its di-ktaion, its 
dual-pillared mountain is the heavens-mountain ; and that also satisfactorily 

killed by the first in an assault of arms which ended in a fight (Didot*s Frag^ ffisf, Gr^, 
ii, 42). This seems t^ clea^ doublet of Ath£p^ (cilling PalLas (the goddess) at p, 49 
supra, as related by Apollodoros some 400 ^ears later {BibL iii, 12, 3) ; and it absolutely 
makes AmphiKtuon the ^prandsire of Athena. How is that for high ? It also gives the 
equation lo -K Dama -* Pal -f Las, in which Dama (see p. 142 supra) must « Lfis. 
Then lo ought to «> Pal ; and so it does ! for Ihs, arrow, dart, missile weapon, is only 
another word for pal, the spear. And now I venture the supposition that *I«, the cow- 
goddess pf the heavens, was so named froin her horns and not from her " wandering," as 
Seyffcrt's Dictionary say?. Nor does all this seem to hurt my derivation of PalLas on 
p. 48 supra (see also p. 212 infra), 

* BibL iii, 14, 6. * BibL iii, 14, 6, 2. ' Philochoros,^^. |8. 
< ApolL BibL i, 7, 2, 7. * Pherecycles,/r^f. 8, and others. 

• Theopompos,/rfl5f. 80; Androti6n, /r<i^. 33* 

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i82 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

suj^iorts my celestial location of the DiKtaion haven (pp. 133, 140). The old 
connection of DiKtunna with a net, diktuon, is by no means embarrassing, for 
the omphalos-stone is constantly seen in ancient Greek art to be covered with a 
net (see "The Navel"). That DiKtus was one of the two sons of Magnus is 
another proof that I am here keeping the right track ; and his brother 
PoluDeKt^, who brought up the great god Perseus ; who by force espoused 
Dana^ (mother of Perseus and daughter of Akrisios the king-god of the akrfi of 
Argos, of the Extremity of the heavens) ; and who with all his subjects was 
turned to stone, is again consonant, for he and they are all star-stone heavens- 
gods. __^«__ 

Albrecht Weber* has made the Ingenious and interesting suggestion that 
the twelve hallowed nights which make their ap[>earance in Vedic antiquity, and 
which are found in the West, especially among the Teutons (our own " twelve 
days of Christmas " and " Twelfth Night ") are to be regarded as an attempt to 
make the year up to 365 J days ; because the lunar month multiplied by neither 
12 nor 13 will hit off this number. Thus 354 -h 12 would = 366. But 366 
won't do dther, of course ; and Weber rightly throws doubt on his own con- 
jecture in the Indische Studien xvii, 224. 

The Number Sixteen can also be considered, as a further sub- 
division of the Eight See, for instances, the evolution of the 
16-sided Egyptian typical column from the squared post and the 
octagonal pillar pi. 157, and the 16 columns of the Dome of the 
Rock, p. 167. 

The shodhashin or 16-fold chant of archaic Hind(i!sm meant 
Indra.' When Bhagavat (Vishnu) took the human form of 
Purusha, he was composed of 16 parts.* In his palace were 16,000 
pavilions for his 16,000 consorts. Daksha (Right) marries the 
daughter, PrasClti, of the First Manu, and has 16 fine-eyed 
daughter's by her. 

In Irish myth, Sinsar the monarch of the World has under him 
1 6 warlike princes. The great horse of the Giolla Deacair bears 
away 16 of the Fianna on his back, and Finn starts with 15 others 
(+ I = 16) in pursuit Not alone so, but the horse is compelled 
by Conan Mael (the Bald, a Greek note of the heavens-god) to 
make a return journey through the $ame seas and dense woods, 
and over the same islands rocks and dark glens, with the Giolla 
and 15(4 1 = 1 6) other denizens of the celestial Land of Promise.* 

* Zwei vedische Texte uber Omina und Poritntay p. 388. 

* Eggeling's Satap, Brdkm, 313, 400, 402, 131. 

» Bhdgav.'pur. i. 3, I ; ii, 2g ; 14, 37. iv, i, 47. 

* Dr. Joyce's CtUic RooianceSy 194, 238, 243, 271, 272. 

Digitized by 


Myths.^ The Cardinal Points. 183 

All this seems unmistakeably zodiacal, or connected with the 
celestial points of the compass. 

The pageant of Chester at the summer solstice as late as 1 564 
included four giants and sixteen naked boys.» 

"To THE Editor of the DAIL Y GRAPHIC, Sir— It may interest some 
of your readers to know that a genuine old English song serves for the street 
cry of the lavender-seller. It may be heard almost any day in Bloomsbury. 

Will 3roa buy my blooming U - ven • der T Six-teen good brtuKbes a pen - ny. 

The regain is the same each time — * Sixteen good branches a penny' \ but 
there are six lines, or verses, thus : 

Will you buy my blooming lavender ? 

Sixteen good branches a penny. 
If you buy it once you'll buy it twice ; 

Sixteen good branches a penny. 
For it makes your clothes smell so very nice ; 
Sixteen good branches a penny. 

Now^s the time to scent your handkerchief ; 

Sixteen good branches a penny, 
With my sweet blooming lavender ; 

Sixteen good branches a penny, 
For it's ajl in full blossom ; 
Sixteen good branches a penny. 
I took this song down, with the air, from a young woman who comes round 
regularly once or twice a week, and she told me her mother taught it to her, 
'and she learned it off her mother, what kept a lavender garden out at 
Uxbridge.' It appears to be the custom to sell lavender * sixteen branches a 
penny,' for I have since heard others offering it on those terms, but I have not 
been able to discover why sixteen should be the accepted number. My lavender 
girl never offers any other flowers for sale, and her fether and mother are in the 
same trade — while lavender is in season—^and though they get their stock-in- 
trade wholesale at * Common Garden,' they still live at Uxbridge, like the 
mother's mother * what kept a lavender garden,' — Yours obediendy, Upper 
Bedford Place, i Sept, 1890," 

Do not forget here that the lavender-j^£^^ is a blossoming reed 
or rod. 

^ Strutt (Hone's ed. ) p. xliii. 

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i84 The Night of the Gods, {Axis 

14. — The Four Living Creatures. 

IT results from any full study of the myths, symbolism, and 
nomenclature of the Four Quarters that those directions were 
viewed in the strict orthodoxy of heavens-mythology not as 
the N. S. E. and W. of every earthly spot whatever, but as four 
heavens- divisions spread out around the Pole. Thus for example 
the six Chinese Ho ^ or Ki ;g|, the limits of space — the zenith, 
nadir, and the four cardinal points — must initially and astrono- 
mically be referred to the N. and S. poles and the four quarters of 
the sphere around (in which view of the four quarters, be it remarked, 
our conventional N. S. E. anc( W, completely disappear). This is 
borne out too in the four Ki, of which the N. pqint is the spot 
over which the Polestar stands.^ And the same idea explains the 
five fang jjf , which are N. S. E. W. and Centre. 

It is from this astrog^ostical point of view that we n^ust now 
proceed to consider the four niost archaic great divisions of the 
Chinese celestial sphere, which will be found to illustrate for us 
the Fqur Living Creatures of the Hebrew Sacred Books, 

In pealing with the Number Seven, I shall have occasion to 
make important mention of th^ Book of I^evelations. The number 
of astrological passages in that Apocalypse is truly remarkable. 
3ir G. Birdwood' fully recognises the astrological character of the Apocalypse 
yt\\\Qh (xxi) takes the heavenly Jerusalem from Chaldean astrology and also 
from the Efook of Tobit (xiii) ; which la^t is a well-constructed Tale of 

For instance, there need now be very little doubt that, whether in 
Ezekiel, Daniel, or the Apocalypse,* the " four great beasts " or 
•* four living creatures " who come in a whirlwind out of the North, 
who are "full of eyes roundabout and within," have a similar 
origin to the four great primary animal divisions of the Chinese 
celestial sphere ; and that the eyes of which " they are full " are 
nothing but their subordinate constellations in " the glassy sea, like 
unto crystal," (that is in the Heavens) " round about the throne/' 

* Mayers, Manual^ pp. 306, 312, 322, 
' Soc. of AxX& Journal, 18 Mar. 1887. 

* Emk, i, 10, which is not too clear ; Dan, vii, 4 to 7 ; Rev, iv, 7. 

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The Four Living Creatures, 


which I suggest was originally the seat of the Polar deity. These 
4 great celestial divisions agree in position with the " 4 winds, held 
by the 4 angels at the 4 corners of the Earth " {Rev. v\x)} 

We clearly had these cardinal animals also above (p. 161) in 
the 4 lords of the corners of the heavens in Egyptian mythology, 
who are man, hawk, " jackal," and ape. I accordingly add them 
to the following table, which I believe to be new, and which shows 
where the authorities above cited agree. The Chinese animals 
will be found fully discussed in Professor Gustave Schlegel's very 
important work Uranographie Chinoise? 





see p. 159. 

Dark Warrior ... 





White Tiger 
Vermilion Bird ... 



Lion (Eagle's 



Azure Dragon 





It will be observed that, in three out of the four, Ezekiel and 
the Apocafypse follow the Chinese Astrology, and that Daniel shows 
the greatest divergence, only agreeing in one, the Lioq (or White 
Tiger).* The writer of Daniel may have followed some other 
nomenclature of the zodiacal divisions, or may have been looser 
in his knowledge ; although F. Lenormant said that Book, in spite 
of its relatively recent date, contains much excellent information 
on the Babylon pf Nabuchpdonossor.* Of course, they all coincide 
as to the number of the animals.* These facts seem tq throw 
some light on the method of literary workmanship pursued in 
coniposing their popular " Visions " by these three writers, who 
might be classed with the priestrastrologers. 

In the Sepher Yesirqhy the winged ox of the Hebrews was 
given to the North, the winged Ijon to the South, the eagle to the 
East, and the winged man to the We^t. These have also, of course, 

* The Chinese "4 comers of the Earth" are N. E„ S. E., N. W„ and S. W. 
(Bfs^yers, Chinese Reader^ s Manual^ p. 311). 

* Sing Shin Kao Yuin, The Hague, 1875, pp. 49 to 72, 

* Mr. Aston tells me of a Corean version of a tale from the Reineke Fuchs qxle, 
ill which a white tiger does (^uty for our Hop, 

^ Magie der Chaldder, pp. 525 to 571. 

^ See also the four tribal animals of the Gold Coast, p. 174 supra. 

Digitized by 


1 86 

The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

descended to the 4 evangelists as a sort of '* intestate legacy." I 
must not forget to particularize that the 4-winged cherubim of 
Ezekiel (x, 14) have everyone 4 faces, a man's, a bull's (cherub's 
in the Revised Version), a lion's and an eagle's. These faces, 
said the late Francois Lenormant, unite in these cherubs the 
4 types of celestial, luminous, protecting genii represented on 
Chaldeo- Assyrian monuments. Ezekiel's cherubs, too, are covered 
with eyes on all their bodies and their wings (x, 12).^ Bishop 
Hellmuth* says the Chay-yoth (beasts) of Ezekiel's ist chapter 
are the same as the " K'roobeeni " of the 9th and loth chapters. 

I may be expected to say something more about the 4 Beasts as connected 
with the 4 evangelists. As a matter of fact this connection is by no means 
exactly ascertained. St. Jerome bracketed Matthew with the Man, Mark with 
the Lion, Luke with the Cal^i and John wjth the Eagl^ ; all the patristic 
authorities seem agreed about Luke and John, but St, Augustine maintained 
that the Lion was Matthew's, and tl^e Man, or rather Angel, Mark's. The 
earliest known example — a 5th or 6th century terra-cotta bas-relief in the 
catacombs — only gives a winged Angel and a winged Ox, each having a book. 
The whole 4 are never found together in the catacombs. In the early Italian 
basilicas and churches these Beasts are on the ceiling (the sky), their heads and 
wings only being shown issuing from clouds : a clear connection with their 
position in the celestial sphere, as I have here endeavoured to expound it, and 
a reminder of the Japanese-Chinese Qragon of the four quarters (p. 169). A 
Mosaic of the 5th century in Mrs. Jameson's Legendary Art gives the winged 
ox surrounded by stars ; and Cjampjni's Vetera Afonumenta gives another 
5th century Mosaic from the church of S. Nazario e Celso, at Ravenna ; where 
the 4 Beasts issue from clouds at the 4 comers of a starry ground. They are 
also to be seen in the 21st card of the French tarot pack, wjiich represents the 
universe, le monde. 

Professor G. Schlegel gives the following list of the four great 
Chinese constellation-groups : " At each of the 4 fang jjf (= square), 
that is the 4 cardinal points, are 7 houses ^ or groups of stars 
which each form a figure. Those of the E. form the figure of a 
Dragon, and those of the W. form the figure of a Tiger. (The 
head of these figures is to the S. and their tail to the N.) 
Those of the S. form the figure of a Bird, and those of the 
N. the figure of a Tortoise. (The head of these figures is to 
the W. and the tail to the E.)" The E. part of the heavens 

> Orig, de t If ist, i, laj. See also what is said further as to the cherubim, under 
the heading of ** The Flaming Sword." 
' Biblical Thesaurus, 1884, p. 359. 

Digitized by 


AfythsJ] The Four Living Creatures. 187 

was called the house of the blue Dragon, t'sang lung ; the N. 
that of the black Warrior, hiuen wu ; the W. that of the white 
Tiger, pS hu ; and the S. the house of the red Bird, chu niao.^ 
This also seems to me to be the simplest authentic form of the 
imputation of animal and human forms and names to divisions of 
the skies. 

It is noteworthy too that the 4 animals reappear in Chinese 
myth as the 4 Ling, flt "supernaturally or spiritually endowed 
creatures,* which are (i) the Tortoise (the more ancient title of the 
Dark Warrior constellation) ; (2) the Lin, which is more familiarly 
known to us as the K'i-lin, and has the body of a deer, the tail of 
an ox, and a single horn ; (3) the F^ng, generally translated phoenix, 
which has a pheasant's head, a swallow's beak, a tortoise's neck, 
and yet the outward semblance of a dragon with the tail of a fish ; 
and (4) the fourth creature is the Dragon itself, as before. 

A Chinese collective name for the 4 celestial animals is the 
4 Kung ^ quadrants, or divisions into sevens (as above) of their 
28 great astronomic constellations. The Kung are each ruled by 
one of the 4 Tsing j^ or stellar influences.^ (The introduction of 
the 4 Ling into the same category, though almost obvious, must 
I believe be charged to my account) 

The Four Sleepers, who are Ts'ai Lwan (or Wen Siao), Han 
Shan, Shih-te, and F^ng-Kan* must be another nomenclature of- 
these Chinese cosmic powers ; and here we seem to be again in touch 
with the Egyptian Urn-gods and the Subban Shambtib^ (p. 160). 
The first of the 4 Sleepers is mounted on a Tiger, and the word 
F^ng, which occurs in the nan^e of another, is the name of one of 
the 4 Ling. 

The Tiger on the Korean fls^g was a winged tiger rampant, spitting fire, and 
grasping homed lightnings in his uplifted forepaws.^ 

The 4 sea-calves in Odyssey iv (435, &c,) seem to give us 
similar ideas. The Ancient One, *0 Fe/ocoi/, is fallen-on and killed 
by the Four, who are really men disguised in phoca-skins. But he 
changes into a Lion, a Dragon, a Pard and a Boar ; and I do not 
think we need want to get much closer than this to the chief 
heavens-god and the Four Living Creatures, who are his forms. 
We also have here the magic arts or wiles of Kronos (460). He 

* G. Schlegel, Uranog, Chh p. i, citing a Chinese work on the Urh Va. 

• Mayers, Manual, p. 307. • /did, pp. 358, 307, 311. 

♦ Anderson's Ca/a/, ptgs. Brit. Mus. 52. * Griffis*s Corea^ p. 320. 

Digitized by 


i88 The Night of the Gods. 

is the mighty First, II/mot^w i^iiio^, he is the deathless Egyptian 
First, the unerring Ancient of the Universe Ocean, Vkp<ov aXM>9 
vr)fjL€pTTf^ addvaro^ Tlpo>r€vs AtyinrTio<; [see what is said elsewhere 
as to celestial Egypt] (Odyss. iv, 365, 384). 

Four again (besides Odusseus as a fifth) turn the bar about in the eye of 
the Cyclops (Odyss, ix, 335). Four dogs watch the swine of Odusseus (xiv, 20). 

The primaeval entity, intelligence, or i^on called PJ^an^s, the 
offspring of Ether and of Night, was described by Hierpnymus 
" as a serpent with bull's and lion's heads, with a human face in 
the n^iddle, and wings on the shoulders/'^ This would make this 
Pharifes inerely a syncrasis of the 4 be^ts, and therefore the 
manifest (^ati/cD, appear) heavens. 

I find that the Rev. Dr. E. G. King, D.D.,« ha? been in front of 
me in publishing an astronomical conjecture about the 4 beasts ; 
and I rejoice to hail the support although the view is not precisely 
mine. |Ie says : 

" The Chaldeans paid special regard to 4 points in the circle, viz. the equinoxes 
and the tropics. These 4 points gave rise to the 4 Chaioth or Living Creatures 
which Ezekiel adopted from Babylonia." 

This conjecture as to the astronomical positions may not be 
irreconcilable with the indubitable archaic facts set forth scientifi- 
cally in Chinese treatises, as above explained, 

It is of course impossible to debate here any migrational 
question as to how or when thes^ Chinese divisions travelled 
Westward or Eastward, if they ev^r did either. Nor dp^s it seem, 
as stated in th^ Disputatio Circularis (p. 1 2), that such a question 
is of any very great radical import as regards the origin of these 
astronomical concepts. But an antiquity in China so great as to 
seem fabulous, and even give a shock to all our scientific nerves, is 
claimed for these primary divisions, upon apparently trustworthy 
calculations of backward astronomical time. The curious must 
only be referred to Professor G. Schlegel's very able and extra- 
ordinary work, Uranographie Chinoise^ to which I have such 
frequent occasion to be indebted throughout this Inquiry. 

* Lang's Myth, RU, and Rel, i, 317. « Akkadian Genesis (1888), p. ai. 

• The Hague, Martinus Njjhoff, 1875. 

Digitized by 



The Pillar. 

ts* The Axis as Pillar. 
16* Divine Names in Lat- 

17. The Tat || of Ptah.--The Tee and Umbrella. 

18. The Heavens-Palace and its Pillar. 

19. The Colophon. 

20. The Dual Pillars. 

a I. The Dokana or " Gate of Heaven." 

15.— The Axis as Pillar^ 

WE have seen (p. 36) that the dual Japatlese Kami firmly 
planted the Spear irt the Earth, and niade a heavens-Pillar 
of it. 

There was also an Ame hitbtsu-bashira, Heaven's One-Pillar, which was an 
archaic name of the island of Iki.* And there was a god of the awful pillar of 
heaven, Ame no Mi-Hashira no kami f and an awful Earth-Pillar, kuni tiO 

This conversion of the nu-hoko or Spear into the heavens-pillar is, 
Mr. W. G. Aston informs me,* taken from the Kuskiki, a book 
which professes to give an original account of the age of the gods 
and of early history down to Suiko Tenn6 (A*D» 593-628)- 

Its authorship is attributed to Sh6toku Taishi and Soga no Umako ; and 
its preface, which purports to be by the latter of these joint authors, states that 
the book was completed in the year 622. It thus gives itself out to be the book 
actually mentioned in the Nikongt, which says that in the yeai* 620 (28th of the 
feminine Suiko Tenii6) Sh6toku Taishi and Soga no Umako [began to ?] 
compile by their joint efforts a Record of the MiKado, of the country, of the Omi, 
Muraji, Tomo no miyatsuko, and Kuni no miyatsuko, of the chiefs of the 
Mikado's followers, and of the people^ This, in the Nshongty is the first mention 

* Chamberlain's Kofikiy pp. 23, 25. 

* Pure Shinid 74, 75 ; Trans, As. See Jap. vii, 417* These are some of Mr. E. 
M. Satow*s masterly E^ssays on Archaic Japanese mythology and language. In common 
with all who recc^ise the growing importance of the subject, and ihe excellence of the 
Essays, I venture to express a hope that Mr. Satow will ere long publish them in a col- 
lected form. 

» Letter of 29th March 1889. 

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I90 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

of any records of the court The Nihongi also says that in 68 1 Temmu Tenn6 
commanded prince KawaShima (river-island) and eleven others (which makes a 
suspiciously zodiacal and chronological dozen) to compile a history of the MiKados 
and an account of ancient matters. The work of these twelve is not considered 
to have been preserved ; that is, as the statements about it may be interpreted, 
their work (if they ever worked) is not extant as specifically theirs. But it might 
be theorised that we may have the result of the labours of the named chroni- 
clers, including Yasumaro and Hiyeda no Are, in the Kozhiki^ Kuzhiki^ and 
Nihongi (all of which titles, by-the-way, are Chinese, not Japanese). 

The remarkable modem scholar and critic MotoOri Norinaga(i 730-1801) 
condemns the Kuzhiki as a forgery, compiled at a much later date than it 
pretends-to, and chiefly made-up from the Kozhiki and Nihongi, The truth 
may very well be that all the three are equally entitled to genuine respect, 
and Mr. Aston says that if the Kuzhiki " is genuine, which I think is quite 
possible, it is older than any of them,"* by its owi\ profession. The Kuzhiki 
contains passages which are also in the Kogo-Shiu-i (composed in 807), and 
mentions Saga Tennd (810-823). But this is not enough to destroy its 
character ; and " parts of it," writes Mr. Satow,* " seem to be based upon other 
sources than those abovementioned, and are of considerable value." Mr. 
Chamberlain says' that Motowori's condenmation of the Kuzhiki " has been 
considered rash by later scholars." 

It is but natural that we should still find in Japan other 
reminiscences of the Pillar idea. There is a curious copper pillar, 
the Sorintd, at Nikkd, which is said to be one of six in various parts 
of Japan. The present pillar was put-up in 1643, and is a cylinder 
42 feet high.* Its Japanese pedigree seems to be Buddhist ; and 
the syllable td^ Mr. Aston says,* is merely the Indian word tope ; 
which also appears in Korean and in some Chinese dialects as tap^ 
and in Siam as sathup. The term T6 is not confined to large 
pagodas or pillars ; small structures consisting of thirteen single 
stones piled one on another are not infrequent in Japan, and are 
known by the same name. 

The material of the fine shint6 temples of the Ge-k(i at Ise, 
which are most elaborate works of art, is wood alone, and they are 
rebuilt " every 20 years," say the accounts ; but this period will 
perhaps prove to be in origin the astronomical cycle of 19 years; 
indeed it is added "the construction of the new temple is commenced 
towards the end of the period." The rebuildings are worked by 
having two adjacent sites, and the spot for the central Pillar is at 
all times protected, on the unoccupied plot, by a small cage or 

* Letter of 29th March 1889. 

* RevtTxU of Pure ShintS, 23. » Kojiki,y, 

* Satow and Hawes, p. 445. » Letter of 9 March 1889. 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] The Axis as Pillar. 191 

shrine.^ Shintd temples have, as a rule, a chapel for the emblem 
of the Kami ; but in one at Kami-no-Suwa there is no chapel, the 
special seat of the god being a hole in the ground surrounded 
by four solid pillars of different woods, which are renewed every 
7 years. 

As to this twentieth year, Odusseus comes home in the 20th year {Odyss, 
ii, 176, xvii, 327) ; Telemachos makes his journey in a swift ship with 20 men 
(ibid, ii, 212) ; 20 geese are in the house of P^nelopd, and the eagle breaks all 
their necks (xix, 537). 

This Pillar idea is of course by no means the exclusive property 
of Japan. Chinese legend has its world-Pillar of fabulous length 
which sustains the Earth. As related in a Taoist work of 1640, in 
60 volumes, the Shtn-se'en-fung-keen, a king once upon a time tried 
to swarm up it into heaven, but it is so smooth that he slipped down 
again ;* a tale of the Jack-and-the- Beanstalk order, which cannot, 
on the (now) burlesque side, be unrelated to the popular custom of 
our own " greasy pole," alias m^t de Cocagne. 

It demands no stretch of the imagination to place in the same 
category the long Egyptian column of the Harris papyrus " which 
commences in the upper and in the lower heavens,"* and that too 
which the Peremhru (Book of the Dead) calls " the spine of the 
Earth." The Tlinkeet Indians on the N. W. coast of America 
say the Earth rests on a Pillar.* The above Chinese pillar has its 
pendant in the Talmudic Pillar joining the upper and the lower 
paradises, up and down which the righteous climb and slide on 
sabbaths and festivals.* In Plato's and Cicero's* story of Er the 
Pamphylian, who rose from the dead, the bright Column which 
extends through all heavens and earth is used by the earth-visiting 
spirits ; and both these last are variants of Jacob's Ladder. Then 
there is Pindar's' Tower of Kronos, whose pillars we have later 

A passage in the Odyssey (i, 127) has struck me as possessing a hidden 
significance. TiyX/Maxor bears the spear of Pallas Athfinfi and sets it in the 
spear-stand against a great pillar, ir/)Af iciWa fioKprip, This I think (and it has 

' Trans, As. Soc Jap. vii, 401 (Mr. Satow); Satow and Hawcs, Handbook^ 175, 
207, 474- 

• Chi. Repository vii, 519. » Records of Past ^ x, 152. 

* Mr. J. G. Eraser (citing Holmberg) Folklore, i, 150. 

* Eisenmenger, Entdecktes Judenthum ii, 318 (cited by Dr. Warren). 

• Repub. vi, 3, 3 ; 6, 6 and 7, 7. ^ Olymp. ii, 56 f. 

Digitized by 


192 The Night of the Gods. {^aris 

engaged many commentators) may be a myth-fragment recognising the identity 
or the double emploi of the Spear and Pillar as Axis-symbols. 
Atlas, when the Odyssey describes him (vii, 244, 255) as the 
father of Kalups6, is called the pillar of the heavens ; and the 
island Ogugia where Kalups6 dwells is called the navel of the sea. 

At the opposite side of the world, there was in the Aztec temple 
at Mexico a richly ornamented Pillar of peculiar sanctity ; and in 
the centre of the central temple of the Incas at CuzCo there was a 
pillar at the centre of a circle traversed by a diameter from East to 

In a Shintd temple at Kashima iil Jsipart thefe is the Celebrated 
Pivot-stone, the kaname ishij a Pillar whose foundation is at the 
centre of the earth, and which was sanctified by the local god 
sitting Oil it when he came down from heaven.* It restrains the 
gigantic catfish which causes earthquakes ; and it is but a type of a 
numerous class. There are> as Mn W. G. Aston informs me,* two 
of them within five minutes* walk of the British Legation at Tokio. 
One of these is covered with salt by the devout and ailing, who 
afterwards rub the salt on the suffering portions of their bodies. 

Near the temple of Hecate at Megara, said Pausanias, was a stone called 
the Memorial (wa-icX^pa) on which the goddess had sat down to rest from the 
fatigues of looking for her daughter Persephone. Above Delphi, he men* 
tioned another elevated stone wherefrom the sibyl H^rophil^ sang forth her 
oracles (x, 12). 

The idea of the rock-seat or stone throne is to be met with 
everywhere. The dukes of Carinthia were installed on a stone 
near the ruins of an ancient town in a valley, and seated thereon 
swore with naked sword to govern with justice.^ Near Upsal is 
the similar stone of the kings of Sweden, and it is surrc^unded 
by 12 lesser stones. The king is crowned and takes the oath 
seated on the stone.* 

Conn the Hundred-fighter trod on a stone which screamed all 
over the land. This was the lia Fdil, or (throne) stone of Fdl. 
At Tara it screamed under every king whom it acknowledged, and 
carried the sovereignty (for the Goidels of Milesian descent) with 
it The tradition that this Tara stone went to Scone, the capital 
of the kingdom of Alban, and thence, " favoured by " Edward I, 
to Westminster Abbey is much doubted.® Fdl is the same god 

' Paradise Found, p. 247. • Satow and Hawes : Handbook, 475. 

• Letter of 9th March 1889. * Joan. Boemius : De mcribus gentium, iii, 244. 

• Olatts Magnus : De ritu gentium septent, \, 18 ; viii, I. 
« Rhys*s Hib. Lects, 206, 576. 

Digitized by 


Myths^ The Axis as Pillar, 193 

we have in Inis Fdil, the island of Fdl, a name of Ireland ; and 
the Japanese Rock-seat of heaven, Ame no Iha-kura, is straightly 
identical with this throne-stone. The lia Fdil was properly the 
temair (=Tara) of Fil, and temair must therefore mean hill, 
height, acropolis. The stone was also called in YiX m6r = The 
Great Fdl, which makes a god of it, at once. 

(This perhaps ought to have gone under the heading " B6th-fels," but it is 
also wanted under " The Rock of Ages " and " The Navel.") There is also the 
stone at Kingston-on-Thames, 

In Mailduin*s voyage he comes to a colossal silver eight-sided 
pillar standing in the sea, out of which it rises without any land or 
earth about it : nothing but the boundless ocean. Its base, deep 
down in the water, was invisible, and so was its top, on account of its 
immense height. They heard some one speaking on the top of 
the pillar in a loud clear glad voice, but knew not what he said, 
nor in what tongue he spoke.* This is doubtless too the ancient 
lofty boreal column of the Greek geographers, in the land of the 
Celts, and the significance of the octagonal form has been shown 
in ** The Number Eight" See also the octagonal Japanese spear 
at p. 171 supra. 

Wei-kan, writes Mr. A. R. Colquhoun,* is the name given in 
S.W. China to wooden or stone pillars erected to the " tutelary 
genius " as votive offerings. The same term is applied to the masts 
or poles raised at the doors of all official residences. At Kwan-yii 
in W. Yunnan an old deserted yamen or govern- 
ment office has two stone wei-kan in front, carved 
in solid sandstone. 

In this neighbourhood there are "a curiously great 
number of temples, wei-kan, cemeteries, and paifang." 
(The pai-fang is the pai-loo or sacred portal, as to which 
much is said here under the head of " The Dokana.") All 
the wei-kan are similar in design and structure, and are 
about 15 to 20 feet high, and six inches square ** often 
bevelled at the edges." This, and the superposed squares 
at the base of the drawing, show that the pillars are octagonal 

(which Mr. Colquhoun took for mere comer-bevelling); t> ^^' ^^ 

giving us the Chinese (and Egyptian) sacred number of the 4^Mft<i\»V*^* 
Eight half-cardinal points. " A small cap is usually fixed on the top," and abcut 
mid-height the pillar transfixes the inverted truncated pyramid shown. Mr. 
Colquhoun considers them " symbols of Nature worship," but does not define 

* Dr. Joyce's Celtic Romances^ 150. 

^ Across Chrys^j i, xxx ; ii, 130, 138, 162. 


Digitized by 

Google ■ 

194 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

the meaning he here gives the word Nature. There are also timber wei-kan. 
Some 5 days later, near Mau-kai, " the number of pai-fang, 
wei-kan, and temples was remarkable." Several primitive 
types of wei-kan were seen. (The reader is requested to 
refer to the remarks about the Mahomedan towers in the 
same locality, infra,) 

The ancient perron or peron of Western 
Belgium, of which the finest example is still in 
the Liege market-place, is a pillar surmounting 
a four-sided flight of three steps (five at Li^e). 
^'^•^ On top of the pillar is a (conventional) fir-cone. 
In 1303 the peron was the arms of Lifege. On coins of the 12th 
century a ball was on the pillar. Oaths were taken on the peron,^ 
a word which simply means stone, that is the upright stone which 
was the pillar; and it was the justice and judgement-seat of old 
time. I suppose the name connects itself with the god Perun, see 
p. 198. 

Mr. Consul F. S. A. Bourne, in his valuable Journey in South- 
Western China^ mentions " on the road from Na-chi Hsien square 
pillars of stone, carved at the top to represent the head of Amita 
Buddha. At a distance they look just like Roman terminal 
statues, and are loaded with votive offerings." There can be no 
doubt that Amita the Immeasurable is chief of all Buddhas. His 
heaven is the Pure Land, Sukhav^ti (in Japanese Buddhism, 
J6-do) ; and he is invoked in Japan oftener than any other 
Buddhic power, in the well-known formula corrupted in the 
common mouth into Ndmu dmi ddbuts, I suggest that the position 
of Amita Buddha's head on the top of the pillar indicates him as a 
Northern supernal deity at the point of the Earth-axis ; and in 
this I am not forgetting that in later Northern Buddhism his 
paradise has been transferred to the West. (See also " The Foot- 
print" in Vol. II.) 

The planting of a post in the middle of the Marae (village-green, Greek 
agora, see p. 155) is the Maori custom of demand for satisfaction for blood 
shed by the people of the village. The party demanding or challenging by 
the erection of the post is a near relation of the murdered. If the party so 
challenged does not make compensation by parting with all or the greater 
proportion of his goods and valuables, the post-planter seizes one of the people 
of the challenged village, who nowadays is forced, if a man to marry a woman, 
if a woman to marry a man of the injured tribe. 

In the case of a wife-murder at Piranui, up the Waitotara river, in June 
" M. Goblet d'Alviella's Mig, des SymboUs^ p. 13a 
» Parly. Paper C 5371 (1888), pp. 3, 4. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Axis as Pillar, 195 

1890, a post was two days afterwards planted in the centre of the pah, and the 
murdering husband gave away a double-barrelled gun, a large piece of green- 
stone (Jade) and 52 acres of land.* 

The Law and the later Hebrew prophets, says Prof. Robertson 
Smith, look on the ritualistic use of sacred pillars as idolatrous.* 
[They were thus, it seems to me, combating a superstitio from an 
earlier fallen or falling creed.] Hosea (iii, 4) speaks of the 
mass^bh^h or pillar, as an indispensable feature of the sanctuaries 
in Northern Israel — Shechem, Bethel, Gilgal, and others. 
"For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king, and without 
prince, and without sacrifice, and without pillar (or obelisk), and without ephod 
or teraphim" (Hosea, iii, 4). "According to the goodness of his land they 
have made goodly pillars, or obelisks " — {Ibid, x, i). Then follows "He shall 
smite their altars, he shall spoil their pillars," which indicates a muddled text 
Prof Smith says the massSbh^h was worshipped like the Arabian 
nosb or upright stone, and cites the pillars of Usous which I 
elsewhere mention, and the blood of beasts of the chase spilt 
to them. He goes on to suggest that the pillar, as a visible 
embodiment of the deity, in process of time came to be fashioned 
into a statue of stone, as the sacred tree or post developed into 
an image of wood,* but I want also, and on a more direct line, to 
develop the pillar into the tower, the minaret, the steeple. 
In the Corpus Inscr. Semit, tab. viii, 44 (says Dr. Wallis 
Budge hereon) is a copy of a ni250 in the British Museum. 
The inscription speaks of " this ni2JO " ; its shape is : 

Deuteronomy contains two furious injunctions (vii, 5 ; xii, 3) 
to dash in pieces the pillars or obelisks, and burn the Ash^rim, of 
other nations ; but the divine order being also to smite, and 
sacrifice, and show no mercy to, the people of those nations, we 
see that the fury is not against sacred pillars as such, but only 
as being the gods (that is the devils) of the enemy. One of the 
commandments in Leviticus (xxvi, i. Deut. xvi, 22) is " ye shall 
not rear up a pillar (or an obelisk), nor shall ye place any figured 
stone in your land, to bow down to it." The Vulgate here has 
titulos and ittsignem lapidem. There is the utmost contradiction in 
the various texts, indicating obviously (for me), as stated above, 
the proscribing of a superstitio that was dying very hard. 

It is not without its bearing upon all this that M. Hal^vy pointed out at the 
SocUtd Asiatique (12 Oct 1883) that fel, the Semitic god-name, has for its 
primitive sense " a column." He also recognised the connexion between the 

1 The Lancet, 18/10/90, p. 848. 

' Rclig, of Semites, 186, 187. This point is also dealt-with under ** The Tree " infra, 

N 2 

Digitized by 


19^ The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

column, the cone, and the mountain. (This portion of our pillar subject is closely 
connected with the B^th-fels, to which the reader is requested to refer back.) 

Movers pointed out how the main deity of Assyria, Babylon, Syria, and 
Phoenicia (with Carthage), dwelt in the highest heaven, and also on mountains, 
on the high places of the earth ; and was represented in preference by one or 
many columns, pyramids, or obelisks in the temples or before them. He was 
called fel or felidn, the Most High ; Bel or Ba'al, the Master ; and he also had 
the epithets of Adon, lord ; Moloch, king ; Adod or Adad, king of gods.» 
Baal-Peor and Baal-Hermon were the gods of those sacred mountains. (Baal- 
Peor = Belphegor = lord of the opening, slit, or mountain-pass.) 

Supplementing what is stated at p. ii6, I shall here add that Smith's 
Dictionary of the Bible (i860) recognises that Elohfm is the plural of Eloah ; 
stating that the singular, with few exceptions, occurs only in poetry. That is, 
in accordance with the custom of all well-known languages (as borne in view in 
this Inquiry), that the use of Eloah had been long going out, in favour of 
Elohim. The prose exceptions in which Eloah occurs are NehenUah ix, 17 : 
" thou art an Eloah of forgiveness, -gracious and full of compassion, slow to 
anger, and plenteous in mercy," (the English version here has " a God "), and 
ii Chron, xxxii, 1 5. 

"It will be found," says the Dictionary^ " upon examination of the passages 
in which Elohim occurs, that it is chiefly in places where God is exhibited only 
in the plenitude of his Power." Rabbi Y6h(idhi Hall^vi (12th century) said 
"idolaters call each personified Power ^ddh, and all collectively Elohim." 
Qust so ; and that is what the Jews did too.] "He interpreted Elohim as the 
most general name of the deity, distinguishing him as manifested in the 
exhibition of his Power." Abarbanel said " Elohim conveys the idea of tlie 
impression made by his Power." It will be noted here that Smith's Dic- 
tionary's opinion is but a repetition of that of these Jewish Rabbis ; and also 
that the plural term Elohim, as meaning all the Eloahs, would be thus a 
straight equivalent of Khabirim, as meaning all the Powers, all the moving 
activating Forces, all the Gods, of the Universe- Machine. 

" Doubtless," goes on Smith, " Elohim is used in many cases of the gods 
of the heathen, who included in the same title the ^od of the Hebrews." The 
Philistines say in i Samuel iv, 8 : " who shall deliver us out of the hand of these 
mighty Elohim " [of Israel] ? " These are the Elohim that smote the Egyptians 
with all manner of smiting. The English here has ** gods " in the plural, with 
a small g. Why the small g, one wonders ? In i Sam. xxx, 1 5 the " young 
man of Egypt " says to David : " Swear unto me by the Elohim ths^t thou wilt 
not kill me." Here the English is " God." Again one wonders why the singular, 
and the big G ? The Syrians said " Jehovah is an Eloah of the hills, but he 
is not an Eloah of the valleys " (i Kings xx, 28). Here again we have " god " 
with a small g. King Abimelech remarks to Abraham {Gen, xxi, 23) that the 
Elohim are with him, Abraham, in all that he does, and therefore requires him 
to take his oath by the Elohim. The Midianites say that the Elohim delivered 
Midian into the hands of Gideon (Judges vii, 14) ; and in a strangest passage the 
sons of Heth call Abraham a prince or exalted-one of the Elohim (Gen, xxiii, 6). 

* Guignaut's Creuzer, ii, 872, 875, 882. 

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MyiksJ] T/ie Axis as Pillar. ^97 

Joseph tells Pharaoh {Gen. xli, 16) that the Elohim will give him, Pharaoh, 
a reassuring answer. He also tells his own brothers (xlii, 18) that he fears the 
Elohim. David (i Sam, xxii, 3) speaks to the king of Moab of what the 
Elohtm will do for him, David. All these cases are referred to in Smith's 
Dictionary^ which goes on to state : " That Jehovah is identical with Elohtm, 
and not a separate being, is indicated by the joint use of Jehovah-Elohim." 
The obvious way of clarifying this statement is to say that Jehovah was the 
proper name of one of the, of the chief one of the, many Eloahs who were 
comprised in the plural Elohtm. And note that Jehovah ends like Eloah or 
Ash^rah or Ma^bhih. 

Capt. Conder mentions a solitary pillar in the middle of a plain 
near Beyrout which is called *Am(id el-Ben^t, column of the girls. 
He suggests it is due to one of the followers of Simeon Stylites, for 
" it is difficult to see with what other object solitary pillars are 
likely to have been erected so far from any main road or ruined 
town."^ If the views put forward in this Inquiry should find an 
echo, there will be little difficulty in accounting for solitary pillars. 

The Stylitae of our fifth century find their analogue in the yogi 
of Allahabad who was said in 1869 to have then sat for some fifty 
years on a raised stone pedestal. It is true he climbed down daily 
to stretch his legs and bathe in the Ganges.* 

As to oTv-Xoff, see the heading " Magnus,** where (under the name MeDousa) 
I make it standing-stone ; Xos being = Xay, Xahs, \aas, stone. (See the Stulos 
again under " The Tree " infra,) 

A Russian fairy-king hides his children in or upon a pillar to 
remove them from the attacks of a devouring Bear whose fur is of 
iron.* This is obviously North-polar. 

The earliest written account of St. George known to have been 
circulated in Britain, before in point of fact, his " Merry England " 
was as yet well made, is in the Pilgrimage of Arculfus to the Holy 
Land circa 670. It contains the Pillar, Spear, divine Horse, Print 
in a stone, and so forth : 

There stands in a house in DiosPolis a marble pillar to which George was 
bound and scourged, and on which his likeness impressed itself. A wicked 
man rides up to it and strikes his lance against the picture, and the iron lance- 
head enters the pillar as though it were snow, and cannot be withdrawn ; 
while the handle breaks off. The horse also falls dead, and the man in his 
tumble catching at the pillar, his ten fingers enter it as though it were clay, 
and there stick fast. On prayer and repentance he is however released, but the 
finger-marks " appear down to the present day up to the roots in the marble 
pillar, and the sainted Arculf put into their place his own ten fingers " ; and the 

* I/e/A and Moaby p. 6. • Himalayas and Indian Plains^ p. 88. 

» Ralston's Russ, Folk-Tales ^ 134. 

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19^ The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

" horse's blood remains indelible on the pavement down to our times." " The 
sainted Arculf told us another narrative, as to which there is no doubt, about 
the same George " ; to whose pillar a horseman rode up, commending himself 
and his horse to George's protection, vowing the horse to George ; and the 
horse became rooted to the ground at the foot of the pillar.* 
Here we clearly have a lost loadstone legend (see p. 142), and 
reminiscences of horse-sacrifice also ; and compare it further with 
Vishnu issuing from the Pillar (p. 203 infra), DiosPolis was 
Lydda ; and see what is said about Lydia and the Magnet (p. 
146). It is needless to repeat what Gibbon said about George (of 
Cappadocia) ; but there need be little doubt that this George is 
the Jirjis who Moslems say was the Al-Khedr or Khizr of the 
Koran (ch. xviii), and who was a transmigration of Elias or ElYah. 
See the famous apologue acted by Al-Khedr in the chapter men- 
tioned, and so well used by Voltaire. Allah sent Moses to find 
Al-Khedr at a Rock where two seas met, and where a fish took to 
the water. The station of Elias or George, Makim Iliy&s (or Khidr) 
is marked on the Ordnance Map of the Aksa mosque at Jerusalem. 
There are numerous Russian legends which seem to separate the pair Ilya 
and Georgy, Yury, or Yegory the Brave.' Ilya (Elijah) has in these his flaming 
chariot, succeeds to the Slavonian thunder-god Perun (see p. 194), and destroys 
devils with his stone-arrows as he clatters across the sky. Georgy destroys 
snakes and dragons, and the wolf is his Dog. On his day (in spring) there 
is a Green Yegory among the Slovenes, like our Jack-in-the-Green. 
Of course we have (on another side) a supreme antique origin for St 
George's Day in the Athenian pagan calendar which put the feast of Zeus 
Ge6rgos in the month of M^maktdrion (Nov.-Dec). A Scythian tribe called 
themselves Ge6rgoi ; and so on. 

In Welsh legend the name of the Spearsman Peredur /*a/adyr Hir (of the 
long pal or spear), an unmistakeable Spear-axis god, is often associated with 
his brother Gwrgi;' and both are sons oi Eli^tr (more anciently ^/euther son 
of Gwrgwst) with the great following, one of the 13 princes of the North. 
Peredur is one of 7 brothers, and Corvann the horse of the sons of Elifler 
bears only Gwrgi and Peredur, who thus resemble a sort of Castor and Pollux, 
and both became Christian Welsh saints. (Some of the Welsh mythic names 
in El may disclose to us more than we expect.) 

THE OBELISK. If the Menhir be, as Capt. Conder con- 
siders,* the ancestor of the obelisk, we should at once claim all such 
" long stones " or rather tall stones (menhirs), as symbols of the 

1 Pal. Pilgrims' text ?oc. 1889, p. 57. 

» Ralston's Russ. Folk-Tales (an invaluable book) 337, 344. 

* J. Loth, Les Mabiftogion (1889) ii, 45, 46, 22a * Heth and Afoab, p. 197. 

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Myths ?\ The Axis as Pillar, 199 

At Sicyon a pyramidal stone was adored under the name of 
Zeus Meilichios (Paus. ii, 9, 6). Apollo and Artemis had in many 
places no other image than a shorter or longer stone in the form of 
a pyramid or of a pillar. Such were those of Artemis Patroa, also 
at Sicyon, and of Apollo Karinos in the gymnasium of M^gara 
{ibid, i, 44, 2). 

The obelisk, te;^en ^^^^ 11 and the pyramid seem to have had 

an original connexion in symbolism, if we may judge from 
the inscriptions of the 5th dynasty cited by E. de Roug^, which 
frequently mention sacred monuments of this figure : which • 
manifestly combines the two. I would here remind the reader mL 
that the obelisk terminates in a pyramid, which termination or 
point was called the benben in Egyptian, having the same 
signification as pyramidion in Greek. The benben was venerated 

in a temple of On (properly An l| ^ ) with a devotion similar to 

that paid to the Omphalos in the temple of Delphi. The 
Ethiopian royal conqueror Piankhi ascended alone to the benben 
chamber, and sealed it up after his visit.* This recalls the phalli 
at Hierapolis and the pointed cap and top windows of the Irish 

Maspero* gives a funereal text which says to the deceased : 
Thou penetratest in het-Benben for ever during the feast ij) ; thou 
penetratest in the chapel during the happy days, for thou art 
the "phoenix" (bennu), form of Ra. This temple het-Benben 

01 J . , or J J 1 cn3 or H H was thus connected 

with the legend of the bennu'* and seems also to have been called 
het-Bennu fl ^^ (see also " Divine Birds "). 

Although the most ancient existing obelisk, that of An, 
refers itself to the 12th dynasty, the inscriptions which E. de 
Roug^ cited seem to leave no doubt that they were extant at a 
much earlier period. The obelisks that we know were in pairs at 
the entrance to the temples (like as the Indian pillars were) in 
front of the first pyl6n, the Indian torin (see "The Dokana"), 
Mariette Bey* says this ancient city of An was the On |i4 of 
Genesis (see also p. 116), the Aven of Ezekiel, and the Beth- 
Shemesh of Jeremiah : it is the Ullt of the Copts ; and its Greek 

' Bnigsch : Ifist. of Egypt 1879, i, 129. • Pap, du Louvre ^ p. 50, 

• J. de Roug^ : G^og, Anc, 1891, 81, 84. * Outlines (by Brodrick) 1890, p. 17, 

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«oo The Night of the Gods, [Axis 

name Heliopolis may have been a translation of Pa-Ra, House of Ra 
^ 9 0^- Its obelisk was put up by ;^eper-ka-Ra-Usertsen I. of 
the 1 2th dynasty (3064 B.C.?). The name An, which we still con- 
tinue to hide from each other under this Greek word Heliopolis, 
means simply Pillar ;^ and Mr. Flinders Petrie states* that the very 
early sculptures at Medum teach us that the dn was then (not an 
obelisk but) an octagonal fluted column with a square tenon on 
the top. 

Maspero says the true place of all obelisks was in front of the 
Colossi on each side of the main entrance of the temple ; but Mr. 
Flinders Petrie says that at Tanis there seems to have been a close 
succession of obelisks and statues along the main avenue leading to 
the temple, without the usual corresponding pylons. They were 
ranged in pairs : two obelisks, two statues ; then two more obelisks 
and two shrines ; then again two obelisks.' "In sober truth," writes 
M. Maspero,* " the obelisks are a more shapely form of the standing 
stone or menhir." This is in accordance with the views here urged, 
though of course the general theory of the Inquiry may be said to 
prime this (to me indubitable) analogy. 

Small obelisks about 3 feet high are found in tombs as early as 
the 4th dynasty, placed right and left of the stela, that is on either 
side of the door into the dwelling of the dead.* 

The primitive Shdnars of Tinevelly put up round graves or shrines a 
number of small obelisks on which they believe the soul or divinity perches, for 
it disdains the level ground.* This is a novel view of the obelisk, and seems a 
reminiscence of the deity at the summit of the Universe-axis. 

From the 22nd dynasty the obelisk fl was employed as the ideoglyph of 

the word tnetiy stability, and is used for that syllable in the name of the great 
god Amen,' which throws doubt upon his name meaning hidden, mystic* 
[Note, in passing, this men and w^«hir.] 

The following words seem to ask for comparison, and their analogy seems 
to point in the same direction as the theories here urged as to the pillar and 
the heavens-mountain (Pierret, Vocab, 183, 207, 208) : 

O ^ jl obelisk (Brugsch). 

obelisk, archaic form (E. de Roug^). 


* Pierret's Vocab, pp. n, 34, 73, etc. « Academy z^]9Xi, 189 1, p. 95. 

* Maspcro's Egypt, Arch, (Edwards) 10 1 ; Petrie's Tcmis^ i. 

* Maspero, ibid, loi, 103. 

* ** Demonolatry," in Contemp. Rev. xxvii, 373 (1875). 

* Pierret, Diet. 383, 35. 

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Myths?[ The Axis as Pillar, 201 

\ or ""^ ft ^'* ft °^ H — ^° ^^^*» *^ ^^^^ *" place. 

men '^^^^ 

men i j the heavens. 

men •-— ' Qrf] or ili!:^ ^ ^=5 ^ mountain. 

OEI. :: 

^^ ij i^^ S^ ^^ ^^^ or (I Q mountain valley, mountainous 

Obelisks were actually adored. At Kamak (Thebes) pious 
foundations existed in honour of four obelisks to which loaves 
(conical, no doubt ?) and libations were offered. On some scarabs 
a man adoring an obelisk is found engraved in a ran or cartouche : 
' a circumstance," said de Roug^ with great justice, 
'which has not been sufficiently noticed."^ It 
becomes a leading fact for me, in my contentions for the central 
supremacy of the Axis, and its representation in the poles, pillars, 
obelisks, towers, and steeples of the world (see also p. 237 infra). 

Another view (which is here also always kept in view as parallel if not 
coalescent) was favoured by de Roug^, who pointed out that " a comparative 
study of these little monuments proves that the obelisk was revered because it 
was the symbol of Amen the generator. If the series of scarabs displaying this 
scene be compared, it will be seen that the obelisk passes insensibly from its 
ordinary form to that of the phallus/** M. Pierret adds to this that a box shaped 
like an obelisk (Louvre) contains a mummied phallus.^ 

A curious use of the obelisk is the following : "figures of Osiris in gilt wood 
have their backs against a little hollow obelisk in which are found the remains 
of a small embalmed Saurian."' 

There is at present in the temple of Ammon at Thebes, wrote 
Pausanias (ix, 16) a hymn composed by Pindar inscribed on a 
triangular pillar near the altar which Ptolemy the son of Lagos 
dedicated to Ammon. 

The single or the double column appears continually in the 
scenes depicted on the ancient "monuments of Etruria." For 
example when PoluDeuk^s kills Amukos in a prizefight,* an Etrus- 
can mirror shows Poloces, accoutred for fisticuffs, standing in front 
of the naked Amuces similarly armed, and seated on a stone near 
a column. Losna (Diana ?) stands by, leaning on a spear. Other 
mirrors, with Casutru, Pulutuke, and a third Cabirean god (Chalu- 

* Pierret : Diet 384. « Atude des monuments de Kamak, 

' De Roug^, Notice Sommaire, p. 1 16. ■• Apoll. Bibl, i, 2a 

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202 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

chasu) in a group, show sometimes a column, sometimes a house 
(the heavens-palace) or again horizontal bars like rungs of the 
Ladder, in the background.* An amphora of Canosa shows behind 
Castor and Pollux a pair of columns, supporting each a tripod.* 
An amphora of Vulci shows the pair with their mother Leda 
between two columns.' Yet another amphora gives the twins with 
a single column.* 

All these, as it seems to me, serve to illustrate also, and perhaps account for, 
the oppressive column (with its drapery, which may have once indicated the 
Veil) which was not so very long ago an inevitable item of the " properties " in 
our national school of portrait-daubing. And this gives occasion for a remark 
as to the present great boom in " mythology from the monuments." The value 
of this line of illustration is of course indubitable ; but it has its weakness and 
its dangers. In building theories upon these scenes from tombs, utensils, and 
art-objects, it should never be forgotten that we are going for theology to 
craftsmen ; and besides, that a great portion of the objects belong to periods 
long past the ages of fciith, when the myths were getting worn out, were mori- 
bund. Look, for a modem example, at the vile and fortuitous agglomerations 
that our own " monumental and mortuary masons " used to copy and re-copy 
in the near past, on the tops of the tombstones. 

It would be hard to meet with a more distinct reference to 
a pillar-god than that passage of the RigVeda which in striking 
terms asks the question : " Who has beheld Him who, as the col- 
lective Pillar of heaven, sustains the sky? " This question forms the 
closing refrain of two successive hymns (Wilson iii, 143, 144), and 
there should be coupled with it another fine passage, where Mitra 
and Varuna are addressed as " you two who are sovereigns, and 
uphold together a mansion of a thousand columns. The substance 
is of gold ; its pillars are of iron ; and it shines in the firmament 
like lightning" (iii, 348). " Royal Mitra and Varuna, you uphold 
by your energies earth and heaven " (347). 

The only thing suggested to Wilson the translator of the RigVeda and 
his scholiast Sdyana on these passages, was to convert the mansion into a 
" strong chariot of the deities, supported by innumerable columns," and to add 
the trifling reflection that " the expression is noticeable as indicating the 
existence of stately edifices." Of course the mansion is the heavens-palace 
which so often occupies us here. 

* M. Maurice Albert, Castor et Pollux, 1883, pp. $, 132, 135. See slso Saglio'i 
Diet, 1, 771, where the two colamns are engraved. 

« Castor et Pollux^ 82, 127. • Brit. Mus. Catalogue, Nos. 555, 562. 

4 Castellani Collection, Na i6a 

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MythsJ] The Axis as Pillar. 203 

We must also discern the Universe-pillar in the fourth avatar 
of Vishnu, when he suddenly issued forth from the centre of a 
Pillar (see also p. 237 infra) in the form of the NaraSinha or Man- 
lion — a being neither god nor man nor animal, but partaking of all 
three — and tore in pieces the demon-tyrant Hiranya-Kasipu^ 
(golden-robe ?) king of the Daityas, who had blasphemed by asking 
if Vishnu was present in a stone-pillar of the Hall, at the same 
time striking it, the pillar-axis of the universe, with impious violence. 
This affords a parallel to Osiris in the tree-trunk, and the 
resemblance to the legend of George, p. 197 supra^ is sufficiently 

Sir W. W. Hunter, speaking of Abul FazFs pillar in front of 
the Lion gate of Jagann^th at Purf, mentions another outside a 
temple at Kendr^pdrA, and a third, sacred to Vishnu, at Jajpur 
Half-a-century ago, he adds, such pillars were common enough 
throughout Orissa. '* They resemble the Buddhist LdtsJ' The 
Chinese pilgrim-traveller Hiouen Thsang saw at Tamluk a pillar 
which was said to have been put up by king Asoka.* 

The Thaqif Arabs girded their loins of obedience to the idol 
Lat,» and Sale said* that the idol Alldt had a temple at Nakhlah 
where it was destroyed by Al-Mogheirah under Mahomet's orders 
in the 9th year of the Hijra. One of the greater signs of the 
Resurrection will be the reversion of the Arabs to the worship of 
AlL^t and Al Uzza.* When the conquering Moslems got to India, 
they found at SOmenat " an idol called Lat or al Lilt," which was 
broken with his own hands by MahmOd ibn Sebecteghin. It 
was of a single stone, 50 fathoms high, and stood in the centre 
of a temple supported by 56 pillars of massive gold.* This 
SCimenat is of course Somnath Pattan on the coast of Guzerat, 
the temple gates of which were taken to Ghazni by the said 
MahmCid on his destruction of the temple in 1025, The gates 
which we (per General Nott, 6th September 1842) took at Ghazni 
were modern frauds. 

Professor W. Robertson Smith says that al-L^t, in Mahomet's 
time a daughter of the supreme god, was earlier the mother of the 
gods (which is what is here observed upon continually as to the 

* Sir M. Williams, Rel. Thought and Life in India^ i, 109. 

* Orissay 129, 266, 289, 309. ■ Mirkhond*s Rauzat-vs-Safa 1 89 1, 189. 

* Kordn^ pp. xiii, Iviii. 

* Persian commentary on ICordn, ch. 715 Sale's J^ardn, p. xiv ; Hyde's Re/. Vet. 
Pers. p. 133. 

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Google _ 


The Ni^ht of the Gods. 


rising divine generation ousting the older — salus est adolescentulis). 
Her image at T4if was a 4-square white rock which was still 
pointed-out in Mahometan times below the mosque ; and there is 
now a mass of white granite, shattered by gunpowder and shape- 
less, lying beyond the walls below the great mosque to the S.W. 
The names al-L^t and al-Ozza still survive for this rock and for 
the summit of the more southerly of two eminences inside the 
town. At Salkhat De Vogu6 found a square stele dedicated to 
al-Lat.^ We have here of course also the Alitta of Herodotus 
(i, 131). See also Mylitta. 

AUat is called the Lady of the Spear in the Babylonian 
records.* This is a strange and unlooked-for confirmation of my 
theories, as it brings together the \ki and the spear, both of 

which are here taken to be axis-symbols. 
Saragossa can still boast of the famous 
Our Lady of the Pilar. 

"If any one wished to select one feature of 
Indian Architecture which would illustrate its rise 
and progress, as well as its perfection and weak- 
ness, there are probably no objects more suited 
for this purpose than the Stambhas or free-stand- 
ing pillars. They are found of all ages, from the 
simple and monolithic Ldts [see infray * Divine 
names in Lat-'] which Asoka set up to bear in- 
scriptions or emblems some 250 years RC , down 
to the 17th or perhaps even i8th century of our 
era. During these 2,000 years they were erected 
first by the Buddhists, then by the Jains, and 
occasionally by the other sects in all parts of 
India ; and notwithstanding their inherent frailty, 
some 50, it may be 100, are known to be still 
standing. After the first and most simple, erected 
by Asoka, it may be safely asserted that no two 
are alike ; though all bear strongly the impress of 
the age in which they were erected."* 

This passage from Fergusson is of impor- 
tance for my contentions in this Inquiry, 
illustrating as it does the very ancient 
widespread and independent nature of 
Pillar-veneration. We must decline, how- 
ever, for one moment to admit that " they 

* Kinship and Marriage, p. 292 etc. 
« Dr. E. G. Kirg's Akkadian Genesis (1888), p. 29. 
f^sj^t * Fergusson 's hid. Arch. p. 277. 

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JHfyths,'] The Axis as 'Pillar. 205 

were erected first by the Buddhists." All-assimilating Buddhism 
may have adopted the Pillar, as I endeavour to show in Vol. II 
that it adopted the Wheel. 

And Fergusson was not consistent when he (p. 497) developed 
an antagonistic theory about the Ghazni "Saracenic Minars." 
" They are, indeed, pillars of victory or Jaya stambhas, like those 
at Chittore" [which, obiter, is a vast nine-storied tower] "and 
elsewhere in India, and are such as we might expect to find in a 
country so long Buddhist." [I confess I cannot follow up a con- 
nected line of thought here.] " One of them was erected by 
Mahmad himself (A,D. 977-1030) " [the destroyer of the Ldt ! ] ; 
" the other was built or at least finished by MasQd, one of his 
immediate successors " (/wr. As. Soc. Bengal, 1843). The lower 
part of these towers is an ^/^A/-pointed star (see " The Number 
Eight " suprd)y the upper circular. They are of brickwork, about 
140 feet high, and faced with terra-cotta ornaments of extreme 
elaboration and beauty. 

" Several other minars are found further West, even as far as 
the roots of the Caucasus, which like these were pillars of victory 
erected by conquerors on their battlefields." 

Here a far-reaching theory is taken for granted in one clause of a sentence, 
and, as if to answer himself before another could speak, Fergusson elsewhere 
(p. 56) says of the Surkh Minar and Minar Chakri in Cabul : " these are ascribed 
by tradition to Alexander the Great, though they are evidently Buddhist monu- 
ments, meant to mark some sacred spot, or to commemorate some event, the 
memory of which has passed away." 

That pillars, standing-stones, pierres levies, were erected on 
battle-fields to the god of battles (by the victors) is a statement 
that goes of itself, without telling. But the manifest and primary 
reason of this was because the god of battles was the supreme god, 
whose proper monument — battle or no battle — such a pillar was. 
Take for a late example the two enormous stones planted in 862 
not far from Arras, near the sources of the Scarpe, by Baudoin 
Bras-de-Fer, first Count of Flanders, in memory of his victory over 
Charles the Bald. The French are even now putting up a similar 
thing to their Francs-Tireurs of 1870 near Dijon.^ 
The trophies of a battle lost and won were (see " The Arcana ") 
hung-up on the field on an upright perch or a pole or a tree- 
trunk; doubtless as offerings, upon his. symbol, to this supreme 
god of battles ; or a standing-stone on the battle-field was called 

^ Lt Temps ^ 1 2th Nov. 1891. 

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The Night of the Gods. 


a trophy. The Greek victors used even to lop the branches off 
a convenient growing tree, in order to get their (axis) trunk, or 

There is in the Indian Museum at South-Kensington a beau- 
teous model of the Kutb Minar, at Delhi, in cedar and ivory, 95 
inches high ; which gives the height of the original as 242 feet, 
its base-diameter at 49 feet 8 inches, and its top-breadth at 13 
feet. It is the most beautiful example known to exist anywhere. 
According to the inscription [which might have been put on at any 
time after the building] this minar was 
built by Kutub-ud-din^ between A.D. 1 196 
and 1235. This no doubt was one — the 
latest — date connected with the Kutb 
Minar, but such a date is quite valueless 
when we turn to the 22-foot Iron Pillar 
standing (or lying ?) near it. 

3aoWt 97iuruLn^. 


Sec also «• The North " in/ra. 

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The Axis as Pillar. 


This last was assigned by Prinsep (again according to its, 
undated, inscription) to our 3rd or 4th century; and by Bhan 
Daji, on the same evidence, to the 5th or 6th century. 
The diameter of this pillar at the base is 16*4 in., and at the capital 12*05 i^^* 
This bar of pure malleable iron without alloy must, at the inside, have been 
forged 15 centuries ago (Fergusson, pp. 55, 120). 

As the inscription informs us, this iron pillar was dedicated to Vishnu, 
which is, of course, destructive/^ se of Fergusson's Buddhist origin 
theory. ** There is little doubt," Fergusson goes on (p. 509), " that 
it originally supported a figure of Garuda "...." but the real 
object of its erection was as a pillar of victory to record the * defeat 
of the Balhikas, near the seven mouths of the Sindhu* or Indus." 
This " real object " need not blind us to the sacred idea of the heavens-bird 
at the sunmiit of the Universe- Axis (see " Divine Birds "). We also find that 
"the Balhikas "are a "riddle." This being so, and taking into account the 
" Seven mouths," we shall perhaps not be far wrong in theorising a supernal 
heavens-river origin for this "victory" of a war-in-heaven. 
The Brahmans say this iron pillar goes so deep that it pierces 
the head of the serpent-god who supports the Earth.* In reality 
it is only 20 inches below the surface ; but the legend is a 
Universe-axis one, and parallels that of the Japanese Kaname-ishi 
p. 192 supra, I also give an outline of the Surkh Minar. 

It will not have escaped notice that 
these minars are rather towers than pillars 
— a sort of steeples, in fact — and, I must 
now refer to one more instance in Fer- 
gusson (p. 550) which he says "looks 
more like an Irish round-tower than any 
other example known, though it is most 
improbable that there should be any 
connexion between the two forms." I 
should not look for connexion other than 
a relationship in the sense of the Hebrew 
saying : " We are all of Adam and of 
Noah." "The native tradition is that a 
saint Peer Asa lived like Simeon Stylites 
on its summit." It has been ascribed (on , 
a doubtful inscription) to A.D. 1300, a>ra. 
This will claim notice again in the section 
on Round Towers. 

^ Himalayas and Indian Plains^ p. 225. 

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2o8 The Night of the Gods, [A. 


In Miss Gordon-Cumming's Himalayas and Indian Plains (to 
which graphic and clear-seeing book I am indebted for some 
descriptions) are excellent engravings^ of the above mentioned 
Kutb Minar at Delhi. Miss Gordon-Cumming says it " resembles 
a Cyclopean red telescope," calls it the most gigantic minaret in the 
world, and says the Hindis assert it to be much older than the date 
of the Moslem inscription ; the carving not being Moslem but 
Brahmanic. The dioox faces the Norths too, like the doors of Hind(i 
temples, while those of Indian mosques always face East, in order 
that the worshippers may look West to Mecca. As to the name 
Kutb Minar, of course the root in minaret is ndr, fire, from ntir to 
shine ; and Kutub means pole or axis (see ** The North " and p. 
229 infra). 

In Dr. Schuchhardt's recent book on the late Dr. Schliemann's 
excavations,* it is stated that the meaning of the celebrated Column 
between the two rampant lion " supporters " over the Northern gate 
(it looks N.W.) of Mycenae "is not yet satisfactorily explained." 
In Phrygia, Prof. Ramsay has found seven similar groups of two 
lions and a Column* ; one, at least, over the door of a rock tomb. 
In an eighth Phrygian group the lions place their fore paws against 
the figure of a goddess, said to be Cybel^. On a carved ivory 
handle from Menidi has been found what might be a close copy of 
the group over the Mycenae gate. There is thus nothing exclu- 
sively Mycenaean about the symbolism, and of course my suggestion 
here about the Column must be that it was a symbol of the Axis. 
I shall just add that the two Egyptian gods called the Rehehui,* 
<=> i i ^ W ^ ^ are also called " Two Lions " :^ i? ^ | and Shu 
(Atlas the axis-god) and Tefnut (his consort ? see p. 164) are so 
represented also. 

I beg the Reader to bear in mind the connexion perpetually 
dwelt-on in these pages between the Pal, the Pole, and the Pillar. 

* Himalayas and Indian Plains y pp. 221, 222, 227. 

* "Translated by Eugenie Sellers," 1891, p. 142. 
» four. Hell. Soc. iii, 18, 242, 256. 

* Pierret's Diet. s.v. 

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Myths!\ Divine Names in Lat-, 209 

16. — Divine Names in Lat-. 

IT seems natural to start with Lat-ium and Lat-inuSy which 
seem to be adjectival forms from lat, which I sujg^gest in limine 
is the Greek \aa^ Xa? and the Indian l«lt, a stone-pillar. 

Latium^ •* etymology unknown." Saturn fled there for 
sanctuary from his son Jupiter, which is like Orestes flying for 
refuge to the Omphalos, and is qqite consistent with the sacred 
stone explanation. "Z<i/iaris or i^/ialis Sancte Jyppiter" (Lucan, 
i, 198) was 34crifiged-to with one annual man on Mons Alba (the 
white heav^ns-mouutain), his feast was called /a/iar or feriae 
Z/7/inap. Z^/ialp caput, >vas the head of a statue of Jupiter 
(Lucan, i, 535). This ought really to have been a mere upright 
stone with a human hea^ on the top (see infra under "The 
Tree," as to the stulos). The latiar was invented by Tarquinus 
Superbus, the Supreme Turner (of the he^ven3) and was there- 
fore naturally common to the Latins, Romans, Hernicj, and 

LafiXiMs the king, that is the god of La1\wm was, according to 
Virgil, son of Faunus (which see) and Marica. Serviu3 confounded 
her with Venus, a? a sea-nymph or goddess ; and JL^ctantius 
(i, 21), who perhaps found her name inconvenient, said she was 
Circe, deified ^fter death ! iEneas (in his own (country Alvia^ and 
Kiveiasi) cut-out Turnus, and so married Lavinia the daughter of 
Latinus. Turnus was king of the Rutuli, and we must read that 
as a revolving-heavens god (tornus rqpvo^ a Jathe, a turner's wheel) 
chief of the wheel-deities (?). Turnus cast an enorniou3 terminal 
stone (axig-pilUr) at ^neas before he was killed by the Trojan's 
sword ; ^nd he had previously killed PalLas the a^is-stone giant 
Another version (in Photius) makes Hercules kill Turnus. We are 
therefore right in the very middle of a War-in-heaven. Yet 
another legend made Latinus wed Roma, found Rome, and become 
the father of Romulus and Remus. Again he was son of Circe 
and Ulysses, married Rem6 and begat the same twins. All these 
have bits of the true myth in them. 
See the curious statement made by Festus^ that the rex Latinus, 

* S. V. Oscillantes. *' .... nusquam apparuerit, judicatusque sit Jupiter factus 


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2IO The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

in his fight with MeDientius rex of Caere (see p. 144 supra), 
the contemner of the gods, disappeared, and was considered to 
have become Jupiter Latiaris. (Compare with the other fighting 
rex on p. H4.) Here is a most obviously clear case, as I should 
contend, for the recognition by the Romans themselves that this 
LaurentisLti rex was a Lat-god. And here too we get the (laurel) 
Tree and the Pillar together in the archaic sacred names. The 
mythic Roman rex was (I say) a ruling-god, and the rex-priests 
were the priests of the rex-god, and retained his title. But 

Latagus seems to be a doublet of Latinus. He was crushed 

under a vast stone (" none but himself can be his " ) by the 

same MeDientius the contemptor Divum ; which fate seems to be 
only " another account " of that of Latinus. See also Lateragus 
lower down. Lopping off the adjectival ending, we should then 
have Latin, LatAg and LaterAg, which I must leave so, for the 

LatMos, the famous rendezvous of the moon and Endymion, 
thus becomes the Lat-Mountain, simply (jjlo^ = mons). 

latomns and Xaroiio^ meant a stone-cutter, which helps us some- 
what on the way. 

Z/j/ona . (ancient form Latonas). It is to be observed that 
Latinus had no Latina to complete his duality ; and we are there- 
fore to conclude, it would seem, that Latona takes that place in the 
nomenclature. She was mother of Apollo and Diana. The Greek 
Xaria or Karoav or A^t® was (in Hesiod) daughter to Phoib^ and 
the Titan Koto9 (who is both Ceus and Cceus in the Latin) son of 
Ouranos and G^.^ 

Latd's mother was *ot)9i7 sister of Kolos, and clearly a dual- 
goddess with *ot^o9 ; and Latd had a sister named Asteria or 
Asterifi (one of the mothers of H^rakl^s) who is otherwise the 
daughter of Polos and Phoib^, which equates Lat6's father Kolos 
with Polos the polar deity. Kolos is of course the hollow 
heavens. Where Asterifi fell in the Ocean, there arose an island, 
called Ddos (or Asterid or Ortugia, see p. 32). But Homer made 
Kronos the father of Latd — it is all in the family. Zeus having 
taken too much notice of Lat6, H^ra created the Python serpent 
to torment her. This may have an important bearing on the 
serpent curled-on round the axis-rod of Hermes. She took refuge 

> Apoll. Bibl. i, I, 3. 

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MythsJ] Divine Names in Lat-. 211 

in the island D6I0S ; and there, at the Olive-tree of the Universe, 
gave birth to Artemis and Apollo. 

loHces (latex). The sacred term Palladii latices, for oil, becomes clear 
only when we recollect and conjoin the ritualistic smearing of lats or stones. 
A similar explanation may be suggested for 

latctccy the magic herb which made abimdance where it grew (Pliny xxvi, 

kUeo, I know not whether it is to consider too curiously to surmise that 
lateo, to lie hid, to be secret, unknown, may have something to do with the 
latent god, the deus absconditus of the animated divine stone, the b^th-fel, the 

LatobiuSy " the name of an almost unknown divinity " (Jnscrip. 
Orell, No. 2019) will perhaps now be less foreign to us. These 
few brief particulars must not leave unmentioned 

later^ a brick and 

Later anus y the hearth-god, also Lateragus (very like Latagus ?) 
and Laterculus ; whence eventually the Lateran habitation of the 

The connexion between later and Lar is here indubitable ; and, when we 
recall \as = stone, it is made even more significant by the form Loses for Lcax'^ 
in the Arvalian hymns. Can this Las be Xof, a stone ; and L^ be s: later, a 
brick ? The images of the Lares would thus be " terra-cotta," as it were ; and 
perhaps the sacred forerunners of our fire-dogs or chen^ts ? Ovid in the Fasti 
gave the dog as an adjunct of the Lares, and said they were covered with dog- 
skins. Plautus said they were anciently represented in the shape of dogs. 
The eldest male of an Etruscan family was c^led the Lar or Lars, and the 
second Aruns (Etruscan, aruth ; Greek, ^p/jcov or dppows). The youngest son 
of Tarquinus Superbus (the Supreme Twiqter of the heavens) was called Aruns, 
and Aruns was a diviner (a rhabdomancer ?). It must belong to arundo or 
harundo, a reed rod flute, and ipfnjv male. 

PoluPh^mos, son of EiLatos or E'-Latos, was the youngest of the 
Lapithoi who armed against the Centaurs, and came from Z^rissa.^ 
He was an Argonaut. Elatos was son of Arkas and Proso-peleia 
(or Chruso-peleia or Lea-neira or Mega-neira).* From Elatos and 
his brother Apheidas came the Arkadians. 

The Indian locality Li/a is also called L&r, and is the Adpiiaj of Ptolemy 
(Dowson's Hif^tu Mythology ^ 2nd ed. p. 177). But this is not the place to turn 
aside to the L^es. 

l&t The lits of India and the goddess al-L^t have been 
already dealt-with (p. 203), 

[See also Pa/a/ia, pa/^i/inus, pa/^i/ium, Pa/^;/o, Pa/aAia, under '^Divine 
Names in Pal-" ; and DoruLas and DoruLaion under "Divine Names in Dor-." 
AtLas too, which will be fully discussed under " The Heavens- Mountain," I 

» 4rg^nqutik^, J, 4|, ? Char6n,>tf^. 13 ; AppU. Bihl iii, 9, l. 

O 2 

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212 The Night of the Gods. \Axis 

regard as farthest-stone, because of the Sanskrit dt further. This makes AtLas 
a doubtlet of TaLaos, p. 133, and gives us at once the tall-stone on the heavens- 
mountain summit, the pillar-stone that AtLas was at the limit? of the Universe 
he upheld.* 

As to the material of the Palladium^ a word formed from PalLas, 
I must emphasize what was stated on p. 48 as to the ** bones of 
Pelops."* And the true clue to the material is, it now seems to me, 
to be found (not in " images of bone or ivory," but) at p, 107 supra 
in the natural-magnet or the star-stone, a-iSf]plTi^ XiOo^y the actual 
substance which Plutarch' reported Manethon to have said was 
called the bones of Horus, an expression which must here be 
equated with the bones of Pelops. The Palladium fell from the 
heavens, and was thus a star-stone ; and the syllable Xa? in its 
name (see p, 48) thus exhibits its accord with ySBo^ ; and thus too 
this ** bones " myth upholds ipy assertion that PalLas contains the 
word Xa9, a stone. Note once more too (referring en passant to 
PalLas =^ loDama, p. 181) that the Palladium actually held a 
spear or pal {iopv) ; and add-on that Phylarchos said there were 
many other palladia flung-down in the cosmic war of the Giants : 
KaX T&v Karevrjveyfiivcov iv t§ TiydpTODv ft^XJ?.* And of course these 
wer^ therefore the rocks or meteorites heaved at each other by the 
said giants and the gods. 

It is odd that this about the ' bones of Pelops " is the only 
statement as to the material (which the word itself would there- 
fore hav^ once sufficiently conveyed to the ear?). In Apollo(Joros* 
the palladium is an idol, riyi^. Pherecydes (repeated by 
Phylarchos) called it a marvel, ayaXfia (conventionally, image).* 
Dionysius of FJalicarnassus,^ citing Kallistratos, called it a ^09, 
seat or see of a god (/>. ston^-statue, a sort of b^th-6l ?) and also an 
elK(ov or image ; but never another word from any of these to hint 
at the material, which material I now diagnose as having been 
star-stone (as above), that is an aerolite, 

1 Od3rssey i, 52, 

* In addition to the authorities quoted on p. 48, see Scholiast on Hitul iv, 92 \ 
Tzetzes ad Lye 53, 911, Posthom. 575 ; Pausanias v, 13, 5 ; Wclckcr, CycL p. 79, 

* De Js, et Os. c 62. * Didot*s Fra^, Hist. Grac. i, 356. 

* BibL iii, 12, 3, • Didot, ut sup, i, 95, 356. 7 /^ „, 355^ 35$. 

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The Tat of Ptah. 


17.— The Tat of Ptah.— The Tee and Umbrella. 

THE supreme central Egyptian god Ptah J ^ ^ about whom 
so much will be said in the course of this Inquiry, is repre- 
sented as a mummy grasping the ankh nr 
which is viewed as the "symbol of life," 
the uas sceptre V and the tat U or " symbol 

of stability," which I would identify with 
the Pillar of the Universe. 

This t^t is the habitual ensign of Ptah, 
and was hung as an amulet round the necks 
of the gods, divine animals, and devout 
human beings. It is found with that 

mysterious talisman the thai A, whose name 

is written \ ^, in the hands of large funereal 


The tat is sometimes seen two-armed, and extending its two 
outspread arm-wings as a sign of protection, as in the bottom 
of a coffin of Shutem^s the Librarian.^ Here we seem to have 
the winged axis as a form of the winged oak of Zeus, that is the 
Universe-tree. On the same coffin, the tat again appears accom- 
panied by the "4 funereal genii who presided at the preservation of 
the intestines." It is more to the point to call them here the genii 
or gods of the 4 cardinal directions, as they were (see p. 1 59 supra). 
Their position round the central tat-axis is then only natural. 

Ptah was imaged as a pillar beginning in the lowest and 
ending in the highest heaven. On a post, on which is graven a 
human countenance, stands the Tat-pillar, the symbol of durability 
and immutability, made up of a kind of superimposed capitals. 
On the top are the ram's-horns, the sun [which is here considered 
as the Sphere], the uraeus-adders [that is the ^riret], the double- 
feather; all emblems of light and of sovereignty, which in Prof. 

' De Roug^ : Notice sommaire^ 105, 106, 68. 

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The Night of the Gods. 


Tide's judgement must have been intended to represent the highest 

In the hieroglyphs, said De Roug^, the tat "designates stability 
by the summit (faite) and probably the pleroma, that is to say the 
final and perfect end to which the soul ought to attain by the 
imitation of Osiris." This is noteworthy if compared with what 
will be said later on of the omphalos and nirvana. I think the 
column, whole or broken, which is still reproduced by stonecutters 
for our graveyards, and which was common on Belgo-Roman 
tombs,* must range itself in the tat symbology. 

The tat serves, in paintings of mummies, as a pillar to chapels 
holding images of the gods, and even seems to afford support to 
the divine statues behind which it is shown.' It supports the ren 
or cartouche of Ramses VIII. Some little porcelain monuments 
show the god Nefer-Atmu (Ptah's son) by the side of his mother 
Se^et, both with their backs to a pillar. 

[The reader is requested to refer to what is said later regarding the pillar- 
statues of Terminus, and Dulaure's overturned theory of boundary pillars.] 

It was the Rosetta-stone* that first gave us, on the Greek side, 
the sense of stability and lastingness (Scafievovtrrj^ l! H ^ t^tt^t tu) 
for the ^. The Hindft priests anciently made a circle round the 
udambara sacrificial post, and touched it 
muttering the mantra : " Here is stability, 
here is our own stability."* (See also p. 219 

In the Peremhru ("Book of the Dead") the 
tat is constantly mentioned in connexion with 
Osiris. Ptah-Osiris as "dweller in Amenti" 
is hatted, in the second and third figures I 
here g^ve (pp. 214 and 217) with the summit, 
with the 4 stages, of the tat, which are again 
surmounted by the 2-feathered sphere (see 
the section on " Feathers "). The god him- 
self thus permutes with the lower, the pillar, 
portion of the t^t, which for me indicates a 
pillar-axis god, an Atlas. Note too the 

> Tide's Hist, of Egypt, Rel. 46, 47. 

' Vanderkindere, Hist, Beig, cm tnoyen age^ 1890, p. 99. 

» Pierret's Diet, p. 53a 

* line 5 (36) again in line 9, without Greek. 

• Eggeling*s ScUa/aiha-Brdhmanaj ii, 454. 

rf gg:,crj?r 7^ ^rju i V4Ug g 

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Myths?[ The Tat of PtaL 215 

identification, the coalescence of the uas sceptre and the tat, and 
their upright position in the first figure, and then refer back to the 
section on ** The Rod," p. 57. 

A fimereal MS. whose contents "belong to no known composition" 
(Louvre V, 46, 3279) makes the defunct claim to be equal with Ptah : " I am 
that which bears the heavens with Ptah." This is said in addition to the 
common tombstone-boast for the dead " I have become an (that is, one with) 

I also direct particular attention to the Single Leg in both 
these figures, which has been explained as being the two limbs of 
a mummy enwrapped together in the cerement This is a con- 
jecture, however, which is unsatisfying, and does not accord with 
the Facing-both-ways attitude of the figure on p. 214. (Note, by 
the way, that if he be in the South looking North, his toe points 

In the wanderings of the Welsh Owein, he comes to a large 
open clearing with a mound in the middle. On the mound is a 
black giant with only one foot, and only one eye in the middle of 
his forehead.* In the Kulhwch legend one of Arthur's courtiers 
stands all day on one foot,' which Professor Rh^s seems to deride 
as an idle item ; but I hope to show here that it is not altogether 
a laughing matter. 

Pausanias (vi, 25) thus mentioned the brazen statue of a god in 
the city of Elis : ** one of its feet is enfolded with the other, and it 
leans with both its hands on a spear . • . They say that this 
is a statue of Poseid6n . . . they call it, however, Satrap^s 
and not Poseiddn ; and Satrap^s is a name of Korubas (Corybas)." 
There may be here a possible connexion of this statue of a 
forgotten god, of a deus ignotus (see p. 18), with the central 
heavens-deity, as depicted in Ptah. 

De Groot* gives a full account of the festival and pilgrimages 
at Amoy to Keh-sing-6ng = Kwoh sing wang ||5 IS i» a 
deity with one hanging leg, who was found dead on a tree on the 
top of a mountain. Another legend says he was ascending, seated 
crosslegged, into the heavens, when his mother, catching him by 
one foot, '* pulled his leg," which therefore remained pendant He 
also appears as a white-eyed white horseman, with a white flag, 

* Deveria : Catalogue (1881), pp. 162, 163. 

* Prof. Rh^ : Arthurian Legend (1S91) 92, 5 ; Loth's Mabinogion (1889) ii, 8, 10. 
» Fites (TEmcui^ 1886, 518, 523, 524. 

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3t6 The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

on a white horse. This is celestial. His legend (like Ptah's too, 
curiously enough ; and compare FitzGerald's Omar Khayydmy 
1879, p. 21 etc.) also contains a potter, and the kneading of human 
figures out of clay — a practice still continued in his worship, With 
figurines. There is also an enchanted spinning-wheel that makes 
a river overflow, and the same potter stops the inundation. All 
this is cosmic. 

The Chinese shan-sao or mountain-elves have but one leg. The fabulous 
one-legged bird siongi6ng presages rain in the K'ea Yu or Familiar Talks of 
Confucius (chap. 2), where a boy dancing oti one leg as a charm to bring rain is 
also mentioned. A one- but long-legged, dmall-headed, paper-bird is now 
paraded on the point of a stick about Amoy in processions for rain.* 

But the chief parallel here — as useful for my purposes as if it 
had been invented to order — is in the Bhdgavata-purana, where 
Dhruva, the Polestar deity, meditating on Brahma, stood on a 
single foot, motionless as a post ; and while he did so, half the 
earth, wounded by his great toe, bent-over under his weight, like a 
boat which, bearing a vigorous elephant, leans at each step he 
makes, to the left or to the right.* 

Is this a confused explanation of the inclination of the axis ? See also p. 35^ 
supra. It is passing strange that one comer of Keh-Sing's temple is always in 
decay (De Groot, p. 525). 

A manifest doublet of this is another legend that the rishi Atri (=£ 
Tusk, Tooth, compare p. 1 50) stood for a hundred years on dne 
foot living oti the air.* 

In Russian myth the evil Verlioka is only foUnd, said Mf. 
Ralston,' in one solitary story. He is of vast stature, one-eyed, 
crook-nosed, bristly-headed, with tahgled beard, and motistaches 
half an ell long, and with a wooden boot on his one foot ; support- 
ing himself on a crutch, and giving vent to a terrible laughter. 

See also what is stated infra, at p. 230, as to the Jerusalem 
Jews now praying standing on one leg on their housetops. On one 
of the cards of the French tarot-pack, called Le Pendu, a man hangs 
head-downwards by his left leg. (But this position would indicate 
antipodean infemality ?) 

I thus identify the One Leg of all these Egyptian, Chinese, 
Welsh, Greek, Indian, Russian, and Jewish gods and godlings with 
the One Foot on which the Japanese heavens-palace is raised, and 
the Irish island is supported (p. 225 infra), that is with the Universe- 

» Fetes (tEmtmi, 1886, 70, 518. * Bumoufs Bhag.-pur, iv, i, 19 ; 8, 76 and 79. 
» Rms. Folk-Tales, 162. 

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The ^at of Ptah. 


Axis which is also symbolised by the tat. 
at sugar?" 

And " now who laughs 

I must draw attention also to another figure 
of Ptah-Osiris (?) which, while giving the attri- 
butes of the stiff Egyptian style also exhibits to 
lis a more primitive Ethiopian (?) character in the 
face and dress. The robe seems to be in strips,^ 
and would thus, in religious dancing, ** balloon-** 
out like the petticoats of the Mevlevi dervishes. 

I think too that the Spear (as well as the 
uas sceptre, p. 57) may be connected with 
lotah's symbol of stability in this way : 
M. L^on Heuzey* remarks on four Assyrian statuettes 
in the Louvre, that they are examples of a personage 
resembling the colossus carved between the doors of 
the Khorsabad palace ; but instead of strangling a 
lion, this terfa-cotta figurette leans its open hands 
against the staff of a stout weapon — pike, lance, 
or spear — which stands erect in front. One of these 
examples gives the iron (?) head of the weapon. The 
same deity in the self-same attitude is to be seen in low 
relief in the British Museum where "the open hands do but touch the lance, 
which seems planted in the ground or upheld and balanced by some super- 
natural force* We may surmise a gesture of adoration before a sacred weapon, 
or a legendary incident referable to a marvellous lance." These are M. Heuze/s 
comments, and they seem to me to point to the Universe- Axis as the ta^ of 
Ptah, the shadowless lance of Alexander, and the ddpv of Kronos as herein- 
before and now expounded 

The Welsh Peredur Pal^Ayx Hir, the Spearsman of the long 
Pal, stands and remains plunged in deepest meditation leaning 
against the pal of his spear.* 

The town that the Greeks called Mendes was called by the Egyp- 
tians paBa-neb-Tat ^ 1^ ^^:ZP ff " abode of the Soul (or Ram) lord 
of T at"* Without the pa (which also means town) it is also written 
^5J ^ f © • Mendes also had another name which is differently 

^ Shall I be travelling out of the way here, if I direct attention to the Roman robes 
bearing the stripe (cUvus, latus or angustus) which seems to be the forerunner of the 
ecclesiastical stola? See illustrations in Saglio's Diet, i, 1244 etc. 

' Cat. des figurines (1882) p. 21. Bolta et Flandin : Nintve, ii, 154. A. de 
Longperier : Notice des Ant, Assyr. Nos. 263 to 267. 

» Loth*R Mabino/^ion, ii, 71, 73. * Pierret, Diet. 333, 538 ; Voeab. 122. 

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"8 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

written Taf Tatu (/>. the Tats)^g or f[^f^- The syllable 

Men- may also mean stability (see p. 200). And the name of 
Mendes is now, by Brugsch and J. de Roug^^ given as paBa-neb- 

Tatu, abode of the Ram, lord of the Tats: ^^5^'^vZ:7ffn^ or 

'y'^^^5©B ""' 't'^'FBSTS- Thus we have 
both Ram and Bull connected with the taf, and the animal sym- 
bolism must be the same in each case. 

The prename of the extremely early 5th dynasty Monarch Assa I) P P H was 
Ta^kaRa ^ LJ, the Tarx^prjs of Manetho. Shabataka an Ethiopian king 
successor of Shabaka, appears by inscriptions at Kamak to have worshipped 
Amen ; but, like Pian^i, he must also have been devout to Ptah, for the tat is 
in his prename O ^LJLJILJ* T^tkauRa, Tat is also given in Pierret's 
Vocabulaire in the following words (pp. 722, 167, 723): 

tat ^ ^ stable, stability, establish, confirm./ 8 fp ^J iN 

eset ^ ^ shine, be resplendent v ii<::r> I ce:g=3^ 


TaffRa O ^ ^ > t^ the successor of Khufu, ivth dynasty, f ^ 


TatxeruRa O ^ J p king in the xiiith dynasty. 

Tat kamaRa O f U '^ ^ ^»"fi^ ^^ ^^^ '^^ dynasty. 

Tatsetuf J]]]]^king. 

Tetun f^ ^^^ or ^|[ ,^^. Also given as Dudun (Pierret, 
Diet, 544), and said to be a Nubian form of Khnum. 
Ptahtafas £ \ |[|[ % P §— an unknown locality (Brugsch Geog. iii, 42). 
[Following the analogy of Torx^pi/r, I suggest that where Ra and tat come 

together, the syllable tat has the priority.] In the tat and homs^A ^* "^^X 
discern the later cross and horns of the St. Hubert legend. 

A relic of Osiris thus written u ^ was venerated at Busiris in 
the abode of silence, Neb-seker or Pa-seker. Bergmann con- 
jectured it to be the backbone, but it may have been the phallus, 
for both these were preserved together at Tebehu.* Diimichen* 
has read the name of a deity of Sebennytus (Tebneter) as " XHH 

daughter of Ra " JJ o ^? ^^^"^ ^^ Hathor. 

^ Ghg, Anc, 1 891, pp. 108, III. 
« Ibid. pp. 59, 113. 
• Geogr, Inschr, i, 99. 

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Myiks.] The Tat of Ptah. 219 

In the hieratic papyrus of Nesi-Amsu, as transcribed and trans- 
lated by Dr. E. A. Wallis Budge, Osiris is addressed as follows : 
"Thou art established, established^ in thy name of 'established 

one '" (tettet sep sen em ren-k Tet) §5 ® 1 1 ^ ^ s3^=^8' A 

" Thou comest in peace to Tattu." " Hail, thou art established in 

the heavenly Tattu" (a tettefd em Jettet hert) "^ffffl^ffff 

^ ^ . " Hail, thy name is established in the heavenly Tettu ! 

Hail, thou sweet-smelling one in the heavenly Tettu ! " (i t^ttet 
ren em Tettet hert ; a ne'temi sti em T^tt^t hert), " Hail, the lord 
of the heavenly Tettu cometh " {k I en nebt Tettet hert). Of course 
this dual stablishment in the heavens must be interpreted here 
as the eternal firmness of the dual axis-pillars, and as if to make 
this view certain, we also have in the same papyrus, the further 
ascriptions of praise : ** Thy father Tatenen supports the heaven 
(udes pet) that thou mayest walk over its four quarters" (ftu's 

^^ III! n^ " Hail, stablisher (smen) of the Earth upon its founda- 
tions ; hail, opener of the mouth of the Four great gods " (ftu 
neteru aa llll | cjj ' -^r:^ ' )•' Compare this with what is said above 
under "The Cardinal Points," p. 161, and I think no one will care 
to dispute the definite cosmic sigfnificance of all this, and the axis- 
symbolism of the u. 

Although I am not in a position to press the theory of a 
connexion of the word tat with the root ta and the name Tatius, 
as dealt with at pp. 134, 136 supra^ I still venture again to direct 
attention to the point ; and the Estonian taht (see Index) might 
also be mentioned here. 

The tat, as a hieroglyph, was long taken for *' a nilometer." M. 
Pierret seems to conclude for its being a sculptor's ladder (selle), 
citing plate 49 of Rosellini*s Monuments. E. de Roug^, who said it 
was a four-stepped altar, seems to me to have been on the right 
road, for I theorise that the stages are symbols of the several astral 
heavens, one above the other, like the Eastern T or tee and the 
many-storied sacred Umbrellas. (See also the connexion made 
between the Omphalos and the Altar under the heading "The 

1 This double |a, double establishment, speaks to me of the dual pillar. 
• Archaologia (2nd series) ii, 487, 488, 498, 499, 494. 

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The Night of the Gods. 


plex representation of a two-armed ta^ (see p. 214) 
the upper portion, which supports the holy winged 
scarab, which in turn supports the Sphere, has in 
common with the examples already given, an extra- 
ordinary resemblance to what is called a T or tee on 
the central summit of the dome of " Buddhist " topes 
and temples. Some outlines of such Tees are there- 
fore here added for comparison and consideration by 
fellow-students. Note too the celestial hieroglyph 
upon which the supporting man-god kneels. 

The relic-casket found in the 
tope at Manikyala^ seems to ex- 
hibit clearly the same succession 
of stories as the 
tat. Here too 
we seem to have 
a combination 
of the Tee and 
Umbrella ideas 
very clearly con- 
veyed. A clear- 
-cut instance of 
the Tee is that 


on a dagoba cut from the solid rock at Ajunta. The dome in both 
these cases may represent the vault Of the heavens, while the Tee 
may be the heavens*palace on the supreme Northern summit of 
that vault, showing in or above its roof, too, the successive layers 
of the several heavens. It may also thus be in fact the god-house 
or b6th-fel ; and the relic-casket thus would become a straight 
parallel to the treasure-house, ark, or cista mystica of the section 
on "The Arcana," to which reference is here 
especially desirable. 

In the Karli cave, as in the Manikyala casket, we 
see the Tee and Umbrella ideas expressed separately 
but combined together in the same upper and upper- 
most positions. This Karli ^at "umbrella" is of 
wood much decayed and warped by the extremity 
^ of age. 

' Fergusson's Indian Arch. 1876, p. 80. 

Digitized by 



The Tat of Ptah. 


The Tee is not confined to the top of the heavens-vault (as I 
call it) but is also found constantly as a capital in India to the 
gfreat octagonal pillars, which I have already claimed (p. 193) for 
axis-symbols. Of course the reader sees at once that the position 
is in both cases cosmically identical, on the theories of this Inquiry. 
Such are a pair of columns — 
there is now only one — before the 
rock-cut cave at Karli, and another 
pair in front of the rock-cut cave of 
Bedsa. The pillars, 15 on each 
side, which separate the Karli 
aisles from the nave, also have the 
Tee for capital. The Tee pillars are 
also found in the Nassick caves.* 
Here I point out another mystic 
origin for a type of pillar-capital, 
in addition to that formed from 
the fleur-de-Lis in the Corinthian 
variety (see " The Colophon " 
p. 232). $UsdL. 

The temple of T'ien, the heavens, at Peking is close to the 

Southern wall of the city, in 
a square enclosure measur- 
ing about a mile each way. 
The temple^ itself is a low 
cylinder with three broad 
projecting roofs which repre^ 
sent, it may be supposed, the 
heavens. The altar stands 
in the centre immediately 
below the peak of the roof 

Lillie* holds that the 
Umbrella in mythological art 
symbolises the heaven of the 
gods. The Sanskrit siupa 
means properly a heap, 
rnound, hillock ; and has be- 
come the top^ of India and the tupa of Ceylon. In the Saddharma 

^ FergussoD, p, 150, 

' Buddha and Early Buddhism y pp, 2, 19. 

Digitized by 


222 The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

PundartkA sutra a stupa of 7 precious metals and stones, 500 
yojanas high, uprises from the South in front of Bhagavat It 
remains suspended in the heavens, and the stories of umbrellas 
which surmount it reach to the dwellings of the gods.* 

As to this subject of the sacred Tee and Umbrella and their 
supreme significance and ritualism in the East, I cannot do better 
than refer the reader for the fullest information to the able and 
finely-illustrated papers by Miss C. F. Gordon-Cumming in the 
English Illustrated Magazine for June and July 1888. Specially 
to be noted there are the dagoba in the rock-cut temple at 
Karli (above-mentioned), the three umbrellas over Buddha 
sculptured in the caves of EUora, " in which the emblematic Wheel 
is shown beneath the Throne " of Buddha' ; the " Umbrella over- 
shadowing the sacred Wheel," sculptured on a panel of the Eastern 
gateway of the Sanchi Tope (Bhopal, Central India) where the 
wheel is adored by men and women and by male and female 
winged and feather-hatted deities ; the adoration of the umbrella 
on a tall maypole by the Santhal hill-tribe near Calcutta at their 
annual spring festival, paralleled by Miss Gordon-Cumming from 
Fiji. In Ceylon the early traveller Percival said the umbreUa was 
only shared by the monarch with the Buddhist priests. In 
Assyrian and Babylonian bas-reliefs the umbrella is confined 
to the king. There was a sacred umbrella held over the Mexican 
emperors in their sacred functions. In Burmah the white 
umbrella was reserved for the king, while the Buddhist priests 
carry gilt umbrellas. The state umbrella taken from King Kwoffi 
of Ashanti by Sir Garnet Wolseley (as he then was) in 1874 was 
on all state occasions, and on the march, carried open, and con- 
stantly twirled round and round ; and the King of Dahomey's 
insignia consist in an enormous and gorgeous flat umbrella on a 
high pole. Miss Gordon-Cumming duly accentuates the leading 
fact that these umbrellas or chattas have nothing whatever to do 
with warding off sun-rays or rain-drops ; but so completely is the 
sacred supreme signification of the emblem now misconceived, 
that Mr. Colquhoun, in his Across Chrysi (\y 412), notes with 
admiration that, at Chee-kai in Yunnan in 1882, "a red umbrella 
was held over our heads, quite irrespective of the fact that the sun 
had long set ! " Of course it had naught to do with the sun. 
The Pu-lung Chong-kia aboriginal (?) tribe of the same part of 
* Burnoufs Lotus ^ 145. ' It will be noted that the ** umbrellas *' there are stick-less. 

Digitized by 



The Tat of Ptah. 


China put up an umbrella over the grave of the newly buried 
{Across Chrysi ii, 368). 

In the Higashi Hon-gwan-ji temple at Nagoya (Japan) is a 
group showing the Umbrella miraculously flying back through the 
air to the Buddhist saint Sho-ichi.^ The coins of the Emperor- 
priest Elagabalus sometimes show four umbrellas held over his 
sacred black stone ;' and the stone (locally called manapsa) of 
Artemis on the coins' of Perga in Pamphylia seems to be 
hidden in a reliquary which resembles as much as need 
be the Indian dagoba with the Tee thereon. The 
purely Chinese yellow-dragon umbrella is triple, like the 
imported Buddha's chatta.* 

^ Satow and Hawes*s Handbook^ 2nd ed. p. 76. 

• J. Reville : Relig. sous Us Shtires, 249. 

> Waddington, Voyage en Asie Minoure^ 94. 

* W. Simpson : Meeting the Sun, i6a 

f^ o rn ffi 

a ^ i n 

"^ n y B 


Digitized by 


2 24 The Night of the Cods. [Axis 

1 8. — The Heavens- Palace and its Pillar. 

THE Japanese creators Izanagi and Izanami built an octagonal 
Palace* round their Pillar (pp. 36 and 189 supra) taking it for 
the central post which was to support the roof.* The palace raised 
on One Foot or pillar, built for two later gods in ii, 44 of the 
Kozhikif seems a variant of this myth. 

The Kozhiki calls this second palace : asM (J£) hitotsu agari no miya; 
where ashi means foot ; but the Nihongi has hashira ft pillar, instead ofashi. 
The native commentators seem to agree that the single pillar supported the 
whole weight of this miya = temple or palace ; but I do not find that any one 
has seen that we have here a mere doublet of Izanag^'s palace. The word used 
for Izanagi's too, iono^ is (now) an inferior word to miya, for miya is properly 
the temple of a Shint6 kami, or the imperial palace of the Mikado alone ; while 
tono means any seigneurial mansion. Of course, if it were not for the Chinese 
character, ashi might just as well here mean reed M 2^ foot. 
Perhaps ashi means both reed and foot ; for the Suga-palace (that 
is miya) built by the god Take-haya-Susa (or Sosa), generally 
called Susanowo, in i, 19 of the Kozhiki^ is also for me a manifest 
creation of the firmament, of the heavens-palace^ Spga here 
seems to mean a rush, and is thus a parallel to ashi, a reed, as an 

" When this great kanii began to build the Suga-palace, clouds (kumo) rose up 
thence. Then he made a divine hymn. That hymn said : * 5ight clouds rise 
up ; the 8-sided fence of the holy quarters. As a bourn -enclosure the 8-sided 
fence is made.'" This has already been dealt with at p. 169. " Then he called 
the kami Father Reed-stroker (Ashi-nadzu Chi) and said * I appoint thee Great 
Man (Obito, First Man ? an Acjam) of my palace ' " (mi ya, divine house). 
The 8 holy quarters are the cardinal and half-cardinal points, as 

* Ya-hiro dono J\ 5^ ^, eight-breadth palace (tono). I here give ya and hire the 
same meaning as at p. 168. The octagon thus gives me the 8 cardinal and half-cardinal 
points, and the palace becomes more clearly cosmic. Mr. Aston has kindly given me 
the following note : Arai Hakusiki, the well-known scholar of the early 17th century 
mentions (with disapproval) an ancient opinion that the Va-hiro dono was an octagonal 
building, each side being one hiro of 8 feet : " Kiu setsu ni, ' hiro ' to wa has-shaku nari ; 
ippd ni has-shaku dzutsu hak-kaku ni tsukureru 'tono nan.'* (The only way out of 
the puzzlement is the cosmic way of making these hak-kaku, that is * 8 comers,* the 8 
points, as I propose. I.O'N.) 

^ Mr. Satow's Pure Shintd, 67 ; Mr. Chamberlain's ICojiki, 19. 

* Mr. Chamberlain's, p. 130. 

* Mr. Chamberlain's, p. 63. 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] The Heavens-Palace and its Pillar, ^25 

^ho\v:n at p. i^ ; the fence is the firmament ; and the octagon is 
innumerable times reproduced in towers, pillars, and mountains 
(see Index). Take-hay a means High-swift, and susa is said to be 
" impetuous ; " titles not discordant with a rotating-heavens god. 

The Chinese palace standing like a man on tip-toe^ with 5,000 
cubitsi of walls and lofty pillars, in the most archaic Shi King^ may 
very well be a si^nilar symbol or allegory,'. 

This " palace rafsed on One Foot," island and all, also turns up 
in a sufficiently astonishing manner in Irish legend ; and I venture 
to think that the several marvellous coincidences between Japanese 
and Irish cosmic myths and symbols set out in this Inquiry ^{\xxx\\^\\. 
the migratipnisis with nuts ^ hard to crack as could well be 
desired by any one arguing away from them. In Mailduin's 
Voyage he canle to an island called Aenchoss, that is One-foot, so 
called because it was supported by a single pillar in the middle. 
At the foot of the pillar, deep.down in the water, they saw a door 
securely closed and locked, and they judged that this was the way 
into the island.* (The reader is also reiquesled to refer back to 
what is said about gods with one foot or leg, p. 215.) 

A curious Russian form of the palace on one foot is given by 
Mr. Ralston.' Four heroes who af-e wandering about the world 
come to a dense forest in which an izba or hut is twirling round on 
a fowl's leg. The youngest, prince Ivan (our Jack) makes it revolve 
with the magic word Izbushka. This supplies the idea of cosmic 
rotation which is absent in the Japanese myth. When this Russian 
prince Ivan is hunti^ng the Norka, that mysterious otter-beast flies 
to a great white stone, tilts it up, and escapes into the other world.* 
Ivan builds a palace over the stone. In another tcde the Norka 
sleeps on a stone in the middle of the blue sea. In another 
dwelling, a hut on One Leg, a stone is suddenly lifted and a Baba 
Yaga or female demon issues forth to Ivan. 

Another Russian heavqps-palacq is the shrine of prir)ce3S Helena 
the Fair, built on 12 columns, ai)d with 12 rows of beams. Therein 
she sits upon a high throne ;* and up to her lips prince Ivan has to 
jump (on the back of the Enchanted Hors^), 

One Indian princess lives in a glass palace surrounded by a wide river ; 
another in a house circled by 7 hedges of spears and 7 great ditches ; yet 

' Legge's Shi King, 1871, p. 305. ' Dr. Joyce's Celtic Romances, 151. 

• Russ, Folk-Tales, 144, 138. * Ralston, 74, 75, 144, 76. 

* Ibid. 256, 262. 

Digitized by 


226 The Night of the Gods. {^Axis 

another in a garden hedged round with 7 hedges of bayonets.' In all these 
cases also the hero has to leap to the princess's arms. 

This leap is clearly another way of getting to heaven, besides 
the bridge, the pillar, the beanstalk, and so on. 

In the Persian RauzaUus-Safa^ the gods of the people of A'ad 
were SamCld and Samad ; and they made pillars of stone as high as 
their own bodies, and built upon them tall buildings. 

This pillar function of the Axis can also be explained from 
Chinese astrology, which contains a sort of emblematic freemasonry 
illustrative of this. The chief upright of a roof, the kingpost, is the 
31 liang^ and is also ^ ^ tung-chu^ the house-top prop ; and the 
top of the Hang is called the ^ Ki^ which was primitively a nomad's 

The Latin term was cardo masculus ; its point was the tenon. The beam 
into which it was fixed was the cardo femina, in which the mortise was made* 
Now in Chinese philosophical cosmogony the JJ; 1^ Tai-Ki, the 
Great Ki (or Summity), is the origin of all things, having 
engendered the dual male and female co-principles yin and yang — 
in Japanese In-y6 — whence in turn everything has arisen.* 

Behind the Tai-Ki speculation does not venture ; that is the 
Chinese "first great cause, least understood," the foundation of all 
their cosmogony, which we shall constantly meet with also as both 
Tai-Yi and Shang-Ti. The great northern constellation ^ Wei 
rules the perpetual annual development of the yin and yang ; and 
wei, rooftop, is synonymous with ki, the kingpost-point,* the Pole 
of heaven and earth, to which we shall presently return. 

The Arabic name for the pole-star, Al-rucaba, is quite in this direction, for 
al-rekab, which is supposed to be the correct form, has also given in Spanish 
arrocaba, the kingpost of a roof. The Chinese call the pole-star (a of Ursa 
Minor) Tien chung-kung, the central-palace of the heavens 3^ ^f S> says 
the Tien-kwan shu^ as cited by Prof. G. Schlegel.' This is confirmed by the 
^ ^ {ICaou Yao). 

But it must be noted here that one Chinese term for the dual 
principles — of which fzanagi and Izanami are clearly a Japanese 
embodiment — is ^ j|t Liang-I, where Hang, as above, is the Axis 
(although it is also Two^ as its Chinese character ^ shows), and I 
the Law of Nature. 

Freemasonry and its " Grand Lodge above " seem to come in here when 

> Miss Frere*s Old Deccan.Days, 31, 73, 95, 135. 

* Orient. 'Trans. Fundy 189 1, p. 99. » Vitruvius, ix, 6. 

* Prof. G. Schlegel's Uranog. Chi. 251, 246. 

* find. 246, 252 (citing the Hwdn- 7'icn wdn chi% • find. 524. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Heavens- Palace and its Pillar. 227 

the Chinese builder to this day attaches a design of the 8 kwa (see p. 99) to 
the ki of a new house ; for the dual principles first produced the 4 liang^ which 
in turn evolved the 8 kwa or natural phenomena* with which we have already 
had to deal more than once. This little scrap of actual fact flashes light upon 
the widespread Western builder's custom of decorating the completed roof-frame 
of new buildings. In Korea money called sAng ji is placed with ceremony on 
the roof-tree of every new house.' In housebuilding, the Japanese put the roof 
together first ; then, having marked the pieces, they take it asunder, and keep 
it so, until the walls are ready for it.» 

With this too may be connected the allegorical meaning of the 69,384 rafters in 
the roof of the famous temple of Amida, the Inmieasurable Buddha, at Zenkdji 
in Japan. This number is the same as the number of Chinese characters in the 
HchKe kid or Saddharma-pundarika sfitra ; saddharma pun^arika, or the 
good-law lotus, being the mystic name for this cosmos, that is, as we might say, 
for " the present dispensation."* 

The Palace-pillar indubitably appears in a very important form 
in the Odyssey (xxiii, 190 etc.) where Odusseus describes his own 
great handicraft He boasts that none but a god can move his Bed* 
for a great marvel was wrought in its fashioning by himself alone. 
There was growing a bush of Olive, long of leaf and most goodly of growth, 
within the inner court; and the stem as large as a Pillar. Roundabout this I 
built the chamber till I had finished it, with stones close set ; and I roofed it 
over well, and added thereto compacted doors fitting well. Ne?ct I sheared off all 
the light wood of the long-leaved Olive, and rough-hewed the Trunk upwards 
from the root, and smoothed it around with the adze well and skilfully, and 
made straight the line thereto, and so fashioned it iqto the bedpost ; and I 
bored it all with the auger. Beginning from this headposty I wrought at the 
bedstead till I had finished it, and made it fair with inlaid work of gold and of 
silver and of ivory. Then I made f^st thereiq a bright purple band of ox-hide.« 
Here we have Pillar, Universetree-Trunk, the Heavens and their 
stars (with perhaps the rainbow ?) ; and we also get the thalamos 
of " The Arcana," infra. 

The udumbara-post of the Satapatha-brdhmana stood in the 
centre of the sacrifice-shed (Sadas) ; it was touched in the ritual 
(which reminds us of the children's game Tig-touch-wood). " The 
Udambara-tree is strength; they sit touching the udambara-posL" 
"They form a circle round the udambara-post, and touch it, 
muttering the mantra : * Here is stability, here is joy.' "' When a 
child touches wood it is safe from catching. 

Ennius called the vault of heaven the palace : " But while he 

* Uranog. Chi. 246, 252 (citing the Hw&n-T'ien wdn chi\. 

• .\llen*s Korean TaleSy 1889, p. 109. ^ Chamberlain's Things Japanese, 355. 

* Handbook of Japan (Satow and Hawes), 290. * As to divine beds, see p. 152 supra. 

• Butcher and Lang's words, p. 382, ' Dr. Eggeling's Sat.-brdh^ ii, 141, 454. 

P 2 

Digitized by 


2 2S The Night of the Gods. \Axis 

judges of what is best by his palate, he looks not above to the 
palace (as Ennius calls it) of the heavens : cceli /Saturn, ut ait 
Ennius "^ (see p. 43 supra). 

This Palace is the AkroPolis (apex-city) the AkroKorJnthos ; 
where both iroKi^ and korinthos would admit of considerable com- 
mentary. It is ** the hall brighter than the sun, shingled with gold, 
standing on Gem-Lea " prophesied by the third and last sibyt of 
the Voluspd.* This is the Brugh, brug, or brud, the fairy Palace of 
the Boinne (Boyne) at the North of the Broad-Boinne Bridge. 
And Aengus, Aonghus, Oengus, Oingus or Oinguss, the Mac Oc^ 
the great magician* of this Palace, must be the Polar deity. 
Aengus is son of Great Dagda and Boann (the goddess of the 
Boinne,, or hea.vens-river) ; he is also Oengus mac ind Oc, the son 
of the (two) Young-Ones, and In Mac Oc, the Young-Son. Prof, 
Rhys leans to making Aengus a Zeus, while Dagda becomes a 
Kronos. Dagda is " disinherited " by his Young-Son Aengus, as 
Kronos is by his youngest son Zeus. Aengus was also wily, crafty,, 
and Prof. Rhys makes Myrdliin (Merlin) his counterpart. Aengus 
has a cloak of invisibility, and i$ also Aengus of the Poisoned 
Spear, which equates with the Welsh Yspydhaden's poisoned 
javelin, and is a link with Kronos and his harp^, and with all the 
spear-gods of this Inquiry. Dun Aengus, the fprt of Aengus, is 
qlearly another name for the heavens-palace. Thq crystal bower 
of Aengus is like the Glass-House in the Ocean, into which Merlin 
disappears with his Nine Bards and his Thirteen treasures ; it is 
the heavens-vault, 

Bishamon Ten or Tamon Ten, one of the Seven Japanese gods 
of good fortune (whose personalities have been overlaid with 
Buddhism) grasps a long spear in one hand (although he is in no 
other sense warlike) and holds a miniature pagoda on the palm of 
the other. He can confer on his devotees the Seven precious 
treasures. He is equated with the Hindti Kuvera alias Vaish- 
ravana, whose garden is on Mount Mandara. He is the regent of 
the North, has the Three Legs o- Man, 8 teeth, and the 9 Nidhi or 
mysterious treasures of the Irish Niall. He also got from Brahm^ 
the great self-moving aerial car Pushpaka, which seems a parallel 

* Cicero De nat. Deor. ii, i8. ^ Rhys's Hib, Led, 534, 613. 

3 Ibid, 148, 251, 507, 144 to 146, 151, 667, 150, 155, 493. Pr. Joyce's CeUic 
Koman^fs^ 402. 

Digitized by 


Myths J] The Heavens- Palace and its Pillar. 229 

to Argo and all the other heavens-boats, as well as to all the celes- 
tial chariots. 

•In what a new aspect, too, all this presents the incense-burning 
and libations to all tile host of the heavens in the high-places and 
upon the flat Eastern house-tops in Jeremiah (xix, 13), Zephaniah 
(i, s), and the second book of Kings (xxiii, 5) ; and also upon the 
•altar on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz (ii Kings xxiii, 12). 
With these texts we might compare the Vedic : ** Agni who has his 
abode on high places."^ A high place bima, and an altar mizbeah, 
were at one time distinguished in the Old T^tament ; but ulti- 
mately b^ma was the term applied to any idolatrous shrine or 

The chief of all the s^hib 1 tesArruf (owners of possession) of 
the Moslem dervishes is called the Kutb, or Kutub ; a word which, 
according to Lane and Devic, signifies primarily a pole or axis, 
-and then a chief; it also means a centre ; and is here = s^hib. 
Devic instances the old astronomical al-chitot, the axis of the sphere, the pole 
of the world, as a corruption from al-Kutb, the axle, the pole, the polestar ; 
so that Kutb-ud-Din, whose inscription is on the Kutub-Minar (p. 208 supra\ 
would mean the Polestar (or chief) of the faith, the head of the church, in 
point of fact. This is very significant indeed. 

The Kutub's ordinary station is on the roof of the K^'bah at 
Mecca, where he is always invisible — ^je le crois bien — though often 

He is unique of his kind. On his right and left are the 2 Umen^ (plural of 
emin, faithful). When the one in the middle dies, the left succeeds him, and 
the right takes the left's place. The right place is then filled by one of the 4 
Evtad (plural of veted, tentpeg, cardinal points). There are also 5 Envdr 
(plural of nOr, light) who succeed the Evtid. Again, there are 7 Akhyir 
(plural of khair, good) who succeed the Envir. There are also 8 nukebi, or 
deputies (of the 4?) These with other 40 are the unseen, the rij&l i ghaib, who 
every mom attend at the KiTja of Mecca, on the summit of which the Three 
stand, never quitting it. Besides these i +2+4 + 5(4- 7) + 8+ 40 = 60 
+ 7 there are other 70 Budela (plural of abdfil, servant of Allah).' Lane said 
as to Egypt^ that many of the muslims say that ^/ijah or EI\?ls was the Kutub 
of his time, and that he invests the successive Kutubs, having never died, 
because he drank of the fountain of life. The Mevlevi sheikh of Nikosia says 
Elias is the kutub over the Sea, and Husin the kutub over the Land. 
A Turkish MS. mentions a Kadiri dervish, Ali el V^hidi who 
was the Axis of the Lord, the Centre of the K^'bah of the 

* Wilson's RigVeda, ii, 25. ^ RgOg^ of Semites, 1889, p. 471. 

* Jno. P. Brown : The Dervishes, pp. 82, 163, as revised by the late Dr. Redhouse. 

* Modern Egyptians, chap. 3. 

Digitized by 


230 The Night oj the Gods. [Axis 

glorious Eternal. The sheikh Ismail er R{imt was also the Axis 
of the Lord.^ 

Mr. Brown (p. 28) says Ki'ba — which is transliterated in many differing 
ways — means simply cudey but it is also possible to refer it (in spite of the 
shape of the Meccan K&'bah, which has suggested cude) to the root ku which 
also gives us caelum. (See p. 148 supra, and Skeat's Die/.: cube, cubit and 
cup, and root ku, p. 732.) 

The subjects chosen to be graven on the ceilings of Egyptian 
temples had a direct relation to celestial phenomena ; ' and let us 
remind ourselves here that the common word "ceiling" itself 
comes from French ciel, Latin caelum, the heavens, a vault 

On the 28th day of the moon the Thibetan Buddhist Lamas all 
ascend robed and in their yellow mitres to the flat roofs of their 
houses, where they sit and chant slow hymns by the light of red 
lanterns on poles. The service ends with a thrice repeated blare 
from trumpets, conch-shells, drums and bells; after which the 
Lamas (4,000 of them at Kdinbiim) scream and yell like wild 
beasts, and then come down to the ground.' 

Capt Conder saw on a house-top in Jerusalem the Jewish 
ceremony of sanctification of the moon, prescribed in cabalistic 
writings. It is, he considers, a survival of moon-worship; and 
may be compared with the Ma or Moon Yasht of the Vendtdftd.* 
The prayers are said standing on one leg, an attitude also common 
to Moslem dervishes and HindCi hermits, and I have at p. 216 
supra connected it with Ptah and the Universe-axis. 

The Namnites (who named Nantes.^) of the Loire worshipped 
in a roofed temple ; but it was unroofed by the priestesses once a 
year, and had to be roofed (thatched ?) again before sunset.* 

It is at least curious that so many of the leading Northern 
emblems are lucky house- and roof-marks. The 7-branch candle- 
stick, the tomoye, the suastika, and the wheel. It might be added 
that the Pamir plateau of Central Asia was not called the Bam-i- 
Dunia, Roof of the World, for nothing ; and the Ridge of Heaven, 
divah s^nu, occurs several times in the Rig Veda (i, 166, 5 ; v, 59, 7 ; 

60, 3). 

^■— ■— ■^■■■^^^■"^ \ 

Under the heading of **The Labyrinth," I endeavour con- 
clusively to prove that the Egyptian hieroglyphs (i) for a temple- 

* J. P. Brown's T)u Dtrvishes^ 89, 91. The Mevlevl sheikh says there is here 
* probably ' a connexion with the North celestial pole. 

» Pierret : DicU 540. > Hue's Travels (W. Hazlitt's translation) ii, 70. 

* Heih and Moab, p. 275. * Rhys's Hib. Lecis, 197. 

Digitized by 


Myths^ The Heavens-Palace and its Pillar. 


1^^^, (2) the h ra, and (3) the 
heavens-palace or Universe- 

enclosure or hall of columns, use;^ 

mer m, have their origin in the 
labyrinth ; and that the Greek meander, the Indian nandy4-varta, 
the heraldic fylfot, the Japanese manji, the Chinese character «Ji, 
and the universal suastika are all resemblant or similar exponents 
of the same supernal (and infernal) idea. 

This Inquiry was finished, and the earlier portion of the MS. was with the 
printer, when I received to-day (12th March 1891) the able first part of Dr. M. 
Caster's study of the Legend of the GraiL* He compares it with the Iter ad 
Paradisum in the Alexander Legends, of which he uses the Greek version by 
the pseudo Callisthenes (iii, 28), and the Latin of Julius Valerius. The Grail 
or Graal was one of the endless important subjects that had to be here left 
unattacked, and it was therefore with all the greater satisfaction I found that 
almost all of the " properties " of these legends had been already expounded, 
tant bien que mal, from other sources, in this Inquiry, 

Here are tabulated those cosmic symbols, as hastily condensed from 
Dr. Gaster : 



Iter ad Paradisum, 

(See p. 192 and 

*The Moun- 

Veiled deity. (See 
throne, or couch. 

mountain, high. (See 

palace (or round temple) on top of 

towers (twelve) — Altar in centre, 
pillars (seven) and seven steps, 
chain, golden, hangs from middle of 

temple. (See Index.) 
wreath, transparent, or trophseum or 

stropsum of gold, hung by the 

chain. (See " The Wheel.") 
sphere in the form of **vcrtiginis 

coelitis" (the rotating heavens) hangs 

again from the trophaeum. (See 

"The Sphere," and "The Arcana.") 
chariot (at top of altar), 
tree (seven-branched golden wild 

tree full of lights. (See "The Tree.") 



bridge, which draws up by enchant- 
ment. (See " The Bridge.") 
h. rock, stone, or jewel. 

branched candlestick (ten branches). 
(See "The Number Seven.") 

* Folk-Lore^ ii, 50. 

Digitized by 


232 The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

If. bird (human-voiced golden dove) on 
the sphere, 
bird (Eagle with wings out-spread 
" over the whole sideboard **). 

tu bird (dove). (See " Divine Birds.") 

o, sword (breaklessy save in one mysterious 
peril) (Axis), 
^pear, dropping blood. 
/. three drops of Wood. (See "The 
Heavens-River. ") 
(See also what is said of the Graal and Graha under " The North. ') 

19. — The Colophon. 

J THINK the printer's colophon must be traced back to a very 
important and lofty origin. Festus said ^"colophon dixerunt, 
quum aliquid y?////aw significaretur." And that is why colophon 
and finis fill analogous parts in the practice of the printer's art. 
KoXo^i/ is the roof, top, summit, pinnacle, extremity, end ; in fact it 
can refer to both ends of the stick ; Ko\o<f>&va hridelvai and entrcOevac 
and colophonem addere meant to make a finish, "to put- oh the 
colophon," or rather ** to put the colophon on-to " something else.* 
Koloph6nia* was the daughter of ErechTheus and was thus sister 
of ChThbnia (could we, in ErechTheus, see the same idea as we get 
in erectus, set-up ?). Kolophomos the Giant was son of Tartaros 
and ChTh6nia : we want no fitter origin for the Universe-column 
that issues from tartarus and the earth to reach the heavens. 
ErechTheus was also earth-born, auto-chthonous (note that 
ChTh6nia would thus be his mother as well as his daughter), and 
is one of the many gods swallowed-up alive by the Earth, which is 
in this case pierced for the purpose by the trident of Poseiddn. 

* Passow, s, V, • Hyginus, Fab, 238. 

Digitized by 


Afyiks^ The Colophon. ^33 

Here we clearly hav^ a dotible im^ge of the Universe-axis 
traversing this globe. ErechTheus had very suitably a temple in 
the Acropolis (see Index) of Athens ; and, as if to clinch the 
argument for his position as a central Universe god, he divided his 
subjects into 4 classes, an obvious reference to the 4 cardinal parts 
of his universe. ErechTheus was "also an adjectival title of 
Poseiddn, the god of the (ei'ect ?) trident. One 6f the daughteVs 
of ErechTheus was called ErechThis ; another was Kpeovca (see 
" Crete " p. 1 38 suprd) consort of Apdll6n. Their famous infaint Ion 
is, like EriChThonios Creusa's ancestor, one of the plentiful Moses 
type (see " The Arcana "). Creusa is killed by Medea ; arid an 
enchanted garment, a golden chain, and a crown (all well-known 
6ld properties of the great stage of the Universe thedXx€) are 
mixed-up in the fables of her death — Tor all the mythological 
Creusas must be fused into one. 

To return to Colophon. Herodotus (i, 14) makes Gygfis 
(TiJ-yiy?), ^the hundred-armed owner of the Ring of invisibility, 
take the town of Kolophdn, which was in Lydia (see p. 146) 
where dwelt the divine Jack-of-all-trades PoluTechnos. Of ccHirse 
this heavens-ring is artother allegory of the god-hiding Uhivefse- 
veil, and Gug^s and 0-Gug^s must be put together. Again 
Herodotus (ii, 16) makes Aluatt^s take the town of Smyrna, built 
by Koloph6n. (A Sn>yrna was also built by TanTalos.) Beskles, 
Koloph6n was otherwise founded by Mopsos the great diviner and 
Argonaut, grandson of Teiresias (which see), and One of the 
Lapithai (which see); also captain of the Argives, that is of the 
heavens-gods. In this last quality he also leads a col6hy to the 
mountains of Koloph6nia, whefe b^ founds the free three-gated 
town of Phas^lis^-another phase of the self-same city. With 
which city too may be connected (f>d<rr)Xo^ the bean and the boat 
— ^in fact they said this boat, of clay and reeds, was invented in 
this town. Here We get this most primitive coracle (as a type 
perhaps of the archaically coriceived heavens-boat) closely con- 
nected with the tabooed bean, which is here perhaps ^/le Beanstalk 
of the nursery-tale — tale now of our children's nurseries, then of 
the Nursery of the human race. 

AmphiMakos (great Dual ?) was king of Koloph6n, its inhabi- 
tants were famous horse-men, or rather central horse-gods, an 
ever-victorious cavalry that decided the fate of battles (Strabo xiv, 

643 TO ITTTTtKOV T&V Ko\o<f>(»>VL(i)v). 

Digitized by 



The Night of the Gods. 


All this makes for Colophon being the central heavens-palace 
or city at the point of the Universe-axis. [See also "The 
CEdipus Myths."] 

In continuation of what has been stated above, p. 62, as to the 
fleur-de-Lis at the point of the Axis, I here desire to signalise it 
as a colophon on the top of the Pillar. And not 
alone so, but I suggest that such was the simple 
original of the Corinthian capital. This example is 
given in Donaldson's Arc/uologia Numismatica (No. 
j " 'T 27)* where others may be seen also, from temples at 
I I Emessus and Antioch. It is the fashion I know to 
say that the architecture on such coins was "conventional;" but I 
maintain, on the contrary, that it was most archaically simple and 
real and conservative. 

Dom Riveti in that great undertaking DHistoire litt4raire de la France^ by 
the Benedictines of Saint-Maur (ix, 199), spoke of the compass as an invention of 
the 1 2th century, and due to France; as, said he, with sanctam simplicitateni, 
" all the nations of the universe attest by the fleur de lys which they put on the 
wheel (sur la rose) at the North point" This forms a sparkling little pendant 
to what is stated about the Nineveh antiquities at p. 62 supra, A Benedictine 

* See also Saglio*s Diet, i, 911— a great work which we all wish to see completed. 

H Q i 1 

1 n 1^ B I 

I a i 5 1 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Dual Pillars. 235 

20. — ^The Dual Pillars. 

ANOTHER development of the Cosmic Japanese Pillar is that 
to the divine Pillar of the heavens, ame no mi-Hashira,* is 
added the divine Pillar of Earth, kuni no mi-Hashira ; that is the 
single pillar becomes a duality, which is also a pair of deities, male 
(heavens) and female (Earth). Though a pair they continue to be 
One, a duality in unity," which is a conception long familiar to us 
in Hind(i and other mythologies, and is besides quite in accord 
with the yin-yang Chinese philosophical and cosmic theory, so 
fully dealt-with here under " The Tomoye " and elsewhere. 

Thus we have either a dual-pillar or two pillars, and it or they 
arc combined with a sexual dual deity or pair of deities. Let us 
now try and pursue these conceptions through other mythologies ; 
and we shall eventually find that there is even yet another concep- 
tion of the two pillars : that they form a gateway, through which 
entrance is obtained ** into heaven." (I fancy they can even be 
detected in another acceptation as being the N. and S. pro- 
longations of the Earth-axis.) 

I have already mentioned (p. 220) the pair of pillars in front 
of the rock-cut caves at Karli and Bedsa, which Fergusson* called 
stambhas. I am not certain whether the stambha or monolithic 
lat does not properly stand alone (see p. 204 supra\ but a pair of 
stambhas would be an apparent parallel to the dual-pillar we are 
here considering; There are another such pair at Dhumnar. 
" On either side of the detacJud porch of the Kylas* at Ellora are two square 
pillars called deepdans or lamp-posts, the ornament at the top of which 
possibly represents a flame. In the south of India among the Jains and in 
Canara such pillars are very common, standing either singly or in pairs in front 
of the gopuras " [gate-pyramids, practically torans loaded with an ornamented 
pyramid] "and always apparently intended to carry lamps for festivals." [This 
would make them a sort of fire-pillar or " pillar of fire " — Agni at the top of 
the Universe-axis ?] "They generally consist of a single block of granite, 
square at base, changing to an octagon, and again to a figure of 16 sides (see 
p. 182 supra), with a capital of very elegant shape. Some however are circular, 
and indeed their variety is infinite." "It has been suggested that there may 

* Kozhikiy i, 4. Mr. Chamberlain*s version, p. 19. 

« Mr. E. M. Satow in Trans. As. Soc Jap. vii, 417, and Pure Shinid, ^. 

* Ind, Arch, 113, 52, 117, 131, 336, 276. 

* Is not Kylas connected with xocXor and caelum ? 

Digitized by 


236 The Night of the Gods, \Axis 

be some connexion between these stambhas and the obelisks of the Egyptians 
. . . they were certainly erected for similar purposes, and occupied the 
same position relatively to the temples.^ 

Vishnu in his fourth av^tara as Narasitiha the man-Iion-god 
(see also p. 203 supra), may be seen depicted as bursting forth from 
a splitting pillar, that is a pillar dividing itself into two, to avenge 
the blasphemy of Hiranya-kasipu who had pointed to a Pillar and 
derisively asked : " Is theti the god here ?" This strikes one as a 
very rnriportant record of the reality of the archaic faith. It is also, 
it seems to me a doublet of the tree-myth of Osiris. 

The Egyptian always put up a pair of obelisks before the 
portico of his temples (see p. 200 si pro). Among all that are 
now known, whether at Rome, Constantinople, Velleri, Benevento, 
Florence, Catania, Aries, Paris, London, Luxor, Karnak, On or An 
(HeliopoHs) 6r Alexandria, there is no instance of a single obelisk. 
This might be Apposed to tell against the Universe-axis sym- 
bolism of the obelisk, had we not the Japanese dedoubdement to 
enlighten us ; and the pair of obelisks therefore must also have a 
dual signification. 

There was an An of the North (Heliopolis) ll^*^"^ and 

there was also an An of the South (Hermonthis) | . -=4-^ "^ (which 

appear to imply the N. and S. prolongation of the Axis). An 
means column or mountain. Hermonthis was also Called Anment 

l^'^^^^lli a^^ l^jlllv^* All these hieroglyphs clearly denote 
pillars, obelisks, pyramids, and the like (see p. 199 supra). 

The dual world-pillar must also be discerned in the columns 
of H^raKl^s, and **the end of the world" where they were 
situated must -be taken to be the axial extremity. The function 
of HeraKl^s relieving Atlas in supporting the heavens clesirly 
belongs to the same dual conception. The legends also say that 
H^raKlds separated two mountains to form the columns ; and we 
shall see in Vol. II how the Pillar and the Mountain afford 
variants of one and the same cosmic image. Charax of Pergamos 
said the pillars of Kronos (see p. 191 supra) were afterwards 
called the columns arrjXai of Briareos, and then truly of Hdra- 
Kl^s." Then there are Homer's tall pillars which have about 
them Earth and heavens. 

* Ind, Arch. 113, $2, 1 17, 131, 336, 276. ^ Didot's Fra-. Hist, Crete, iii, 640. 

Digitized by 


Myths?^ The Dual Pillars. ^37 

H^raKles (in the Argonautika, i, 1305) kills, in sea-girt Tenos, 
the two sons of Thracian Boreas (Thr^ikios Boreds) as they return 
from the funeral-games of Pelias (Pelies) ; "and he piled the 
earth about them, and set up two pillars (crnyXiy) above them, 
whereof the one, an exceeding n>arvel for men to $ee, is stirred by 
the breath of the noisy nprth-wind^ " (Kivrrrac ij^^ei/rov vtto 7rvoc§ 
Bopi^ta). The last phrase (i, 1308) is meaningless as rendered. 
Doe3 it not refer to Boreas blowing round the sphere ypon its 
axis? Below (p. 243) are given other instances of wind-gods 
filling such mythic functions. Elsewhere (iii, 160) Apollonios say3 
that there is a path down from heaven at the heavenly gates of 
Olympus where "the world's two poles, the highest points on 
earth, uphold steep mountain-tops " (Soto) Bk woXoc apij^ovat xdprjva 
ovpecDv TfKif^aTfovy Kopv<f>al j^ ^01/09). 

We have a dual pillar, I fancy, in Pausanias (ix, 8, 3 ; i, 34) 
where, on the road from P-otniae to Thebes there was a small 
enclosure with pillars met^ where the Earth opened for AmphiAraos, 
whose name indicates a Dual-Ar^s. " Men say, to this day, that 
neither do birds perch upon the pillars, nor do apimals tame ox, 
wild f^ed on the gras^." 

Melqarth was worshipped at Tyre in the form of two pillars,? 
and Captain Conder describes a double-pillar of red granite which 
he calls a " twin-shaft and also a " magnificent monolith 27 feet 
long," of which " each half-column " is 42 inches in diameter, on 
the site of that god's temple there.^ 

F. Lenormant* said that the two stelae mentioned in the;ag- 
ments as having been set up on distant shores by Ouso (Us6os or Usoiis) to Fir^ 
and Wind Tsee p. 244 infra) and which are shown so often on the coins of 
Tyre, were two submarine natural conical rocks called irirpcu afifipoaruu. This 
last is startling ; and he quotes Nonnus (Dionys xl, 467 to 476). 
" Two pillars also stood before the temples of Paphos (see p. 254 
infra) and Hierapolis, and Solomon set up two brazen pillars 
before his temple at Jerusalem. He named the right one the 
Stablisher, and the left Strength.* They were doubtless symbols 
of Jehovah."' "Whether the two ghart at Hiraand Paid belong to 
a pair of gods, or are a double image of one deity, cannot be 
decided."' As already stated, we may perhaps incline to the dual- 

* Mr. C. p. Coleridge's version, p. 48. * Herod, ii, 44. 
' /J^th and Afpa^by p. 90. 

* Saglio, Diet, des A»tu], i, 642. Didpt's Frag, Hist. Grac. ii, 556. 

* i Kings \\\^ 21 ; ii Chroit. iii, 17. ® Retig, of Semites^ 191, \^. 

Digitized by 



238 The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

deity conception everywhere, thus coinciding too with another 
remark of Prof. Robertson Smith's : " A god and a goddess were 
often worshipped together, and then each would have a pillar."^ 

It seems possible from what I am about to state, that in the 
case of these " symbols of Jehovah " one pillar may have indicated 
the Shekinah of the Talmud and the Rabbis, and the old 
interpretation of these pillars need not be wholly forgotten : the 
right was called Jachin or Jehovah's strength, the left Booz, that is 

(I shall just mention here the statement of Mr. Demetrius Mosconas' that 
these words Booz and Jachin read backwards have, oddly enough, a male and 
female meaning in the '* Egypto- Chaldean " words zoob and nichaj.) 

By kabbalistic combination, the ineffable name JTliT' Jehovah expresses 
a duality in the godhead, a he and a she, HO (that is he) and his Schechinah. 
" The divine husband and wife" is mentioned in the Jewish liturgy for Pente- 
cost, and also in the daily formula : " In the name of the union of the holy and 
blessed H(i and his Schechinah, the hidden and concealed Hd, blessed be 
Jehovah for ever." The name HA, and the familiar name Yah are of masculine 
and feminine gender respectively ; and the union of the two forms the name of 
*TnM mrf one Jehovah ; one, but of a bisexual nature, according to 
kabbalists. HO and Yah in separate form used to be invoked in the second 
Temple on the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles ; an imitation of which, 
attended with all the ancient ceremonials now possible, may annually be 
witnessed in the orthodox synagogues to this day.* 

Ashtoreth was the Meleket-has-shamayim, the queen of the heavens (^xn Jeremiah 
vii, i8; xliv, 17 to 19, 25) who must have been the dual goddess of Baal- 
shamayim, the Lord of the heavens.* In the Sanchoniathon fragments, ShiUna 
(Ouranos) weds his sister Addmdth (G^).* 

Pious Jews on retiring to rest repeat three times in Hebrew : " In the name of 
Yeya 'J'^ the god of Israel On my right-hand is Michat^l, and on my left 

Gabri&l before me is Arifel and behind me Raphael ; over my head is the 
Schechinah of god."" An obvious predecessor of our " Matthew, Mark, Luke 
and John, Pray bless the bed that I lay on," and a support to what has been 
already argued above, p. 165. 

Alexander Polyhistor said that an idol in the temple of B^los 
at Babyl6n was hi -sexual and two-headed.' 

In the Life of Laurence Oliphant,' it is stated that " the Swedenborgian 
theory replaces the trinity by a father and mother god, a twofold instead of a 
threefold unity — the godhead made up of a father and mother, the masculine 

* Rdif^, of Semites, 191. 193. « OMisques d Egypte, Alexandria, 1877, p. 2. 
» Rabbinical comment, on Genesis, by P. J. Hershon, 1885, p. 138, 302. 

* Perrot and Chipiez, VArt dans Pctnt, iii, 68. * F. Lenormant, Ori^. 1, 542. 

* The reference for this is lost. At p. 212 of Didot*s Fmg. Hist, Cure, vol. ii, 
Alex P. says B6I0S was vulgarly called Kronos. 

7 By Mrs. M. O. W. Oliphant, ii, 4, 199, 

Digitized by 


Myths^ The Dual Pillars. «39 

and the feminine in one person." This would, of course, be a mere perpetuation 
of previous similar beliefs, but Mr. J. J. G. Wilkinson* by no means accords 
with this, for Swedenborg held " a trinity (not of persons, but) of person in the 
godhead.'* It is certainly further said that " the sexual distinction is founded 
upon the two radical attributes of God, his love and his wisdom, whereof the 
former is feminine, and the latter masculine.** And then again we hear that 
Jacob B5hme*s " doctrine of the bi-sexual Adam establishes between him and 
Swedenborg a gulf not to be overpassed.'* Small is the matter of it, and small 
the blame to them all for not being too crystal-clear about it. 

The same idea that we have above in the two Jerusalem pillars 
was of course carried out also in Indian religion where (in the 
sculptures of the caves of Elephanta) the god Siva is to the right 
and his wife P4rvati to the left (In Japan the moon-god was 
bom from the right eye of Izanagi, and the sun-goddess from his 
left eye.) 

The Russian Abbot Daniel, who did his pilgrimage to the holy land in 
1 1 06, said that " a verst or half a verst from Sigor, towards the S. on an eleva- 
tion, there is a stone column which is L6t*s wife. I have seen this with my own 
eyes.*** (This ought to indicate that *L6t might = lit ?) Ldt, in the Persian 
Moslem legends, slept on a stone, in which he left the impression of his blessed 
body, and his name is brought from the " Arabic root //4/.**» He is also given 
12 daughters, which is a zodiacal token. His wife too is killed by a turning 
rock, striking her head. We have a Greek divine pair PanDareos and 
HermoThea both turned to stone as a punishment. But immense numbers of 
deities are stones or are seen turned to stones in the course of this Inquiry; 
nor have I, doubtless, attained mention of half of them. 

Francois Lenormant, writing of Bacchus in Saglio's Dictionnaire 
(i, 616) said that the symbolism of all the peoples of antiquity 
established an intimate relation between the humid principle and 
^1^ female principle in Nature ; water being feminine, while fire is 
masculine. (This, again, of course accords with the Chinese yin- 
yang philosophy.) He adds that Bacchus, as representing warm- 
humidity, was for that reason essentially a god of undecided sex 
and physique ; a half-man ylrevSdvoDp ; effeminate, at the same time 
masculine and feminine ap<r€v66rfKv^, ^vvvi^, Orikv^p^ov, the male 
personification, as it were, of the female principle.* Agdistis was 
of both sexes, that is was a dual nature-god, and seems to have 
divided, in the myths, into Attis and Cybel^ ( = Agdistis).* 

* Emanuel Swedenborg (2nd cd.), 1 886, pp. 135, 177, 230. 
' Pal. Pilgrims' Text Soc. 1888, p. 47. 

' Mirkhond's Rauzai-us-Safay 1891, pp. 156, 154. 

* Lucian, Dialog, deo*-, 23. Suidas, ylrfvdavmp. Orphic hymn xliv, 4. Arnobius 
vi, 12. 

* M. P. Dechanne in Saglio's DuL i, 168 1. 

Digitized by 


240 , The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

It seems quite possible that AmphiOn simply means the 
dual-being. See also what is said as to Kekrops under the 
heading ** AgLauros." The Japanese gods of MetaJ, according to 
Hirata Atsutane, are a male and female pair viewed as a single 
deity.* The subject of the dual-sexed divinity would admit of 
endless development ; and the same conception — so correct and 
familiar in vegetable nature— wais also of course current about 

Genesis v. 2 reads (in the " Elohistic " portion) : " male and female Elohim 
created them, and blessed them, and named them of their name Adiml" Jewis'h 
traditional legends in the Targumim and the Talmud, as well as the leanied 
philosopher Moses Maimonides, say that Adam was thus created bi-sex^ial, 
having two faces turned different ways ; and what occurred during the deep 
sleep was the separation of 'Havih the feminine half. Eusebius of Caesarea* 
accepted this, and thought Plato's account in the Banquet (where Aristophanes 
is made to relate the similar legend about early humanity) entirely agreeable 
to the Hebrew Scriptures. Other theologians have upheld and developed this ; 
for example St Augustin, de Gubbio (theologian to Pope Paul III at the 
council of Trent, and prefect of the Vatican library), and the minor friar 
Francesco Giorgi (i522).* Berosusalso in his Phoenician cosmogony speaks of 
two-headed bi-sexual hitman beings bom in the bosom of Chaos at the origin.* 
The first Zoroastrian couple was a two-faced androgyn, split-up later by Ahura 
Mazda. In the RigVeda, Yama is the first man, yama means twin, and yam 
to hold. The same physiological theory is in the Sataphtha-brdhmanaj'^nd we 
find it also in a Vedic legend where* Sasiyasl's husband Taranta Rajah is 
called " the man her half (nemah)." In the Smriti it is said that a wife is the 
half of the body (arddham sarfrasya bhiryi), which still survives in the playful 
"your better half" of colloquial English; and the dual yin-yangidea breaks 
forth in modern coUpquial Japanese, where the word ' sex ' is expressed by the 
(Chinese) compound nan-niyo=|nan- woman. (See also the twin-duality under 
" The Dokapa.") ' 

As to the starting-point of the dual divine and human nature, which may 
have founded the dual number in languages, we need to seek no further than 
the two sexes in nature. The theory that refers this duality to the two halves 
of the brain — ^the two brains, as lately developed by Dr. C. E. Brown -Si^uard* 
— seems to me completely off the spot. Were the initial idea of duality to be thus 
referred to our own internal consciousness, then the prototype would necessarily 
be the Wille and the Intellect, as represented by the spinal system and the 

In HaeckeFs views of evolution, as now professed by M. Alfred 
Giard at the Sorbonne, " the point of departure is the Egg, which 

» Mr. Satow's Pure Skmtd, p. S6, ^ Pr<tp, Evang. xii, 535. 

' F. Lenormant : Orig. i, 55. * Didot's Frag. I/ist. Gr<fc, ii, 497. 

* Rig V, iii, 345 (Wilson's). • Forufft, August 1S90. 

Digitized by 



My/^s,] The Dual Pillars, 241 

is one simple cell. After fecundation, this cell-egg splits into two 
identically-like cells, then each of these divides again into two 
others, and so on ; the phenomenon being known as * segmenta- 
tion/ " This may implant the idea of duality in the very marrow 
of our existence, in the protoplasm of our thoughts. 

ft is worth bearing in mind that the Egyptian hieroglyph which indicated 
the plural was the number 3, III or j. Its pronunciation was u jO. Or the 
plural was formed by tripling the hieroglyph of the singular noun. Thus 
duality was ijot plurality ; and this is a radical fact to remember in mythologies 
where single gods split into a duality ; which again has its reaction earlier on 
speech ap4 later on grammar, as just above theorised. 

The pomegranates and lilies (fleur-de-lis or lotus ? ) on Solomon's pillars 
are of course generative emblems, and the decoration of the capitals >yas ip 7 
compartments. The phallic significance of the Axis has been already touched 
ppon (p. 66), and the polar consecration of the number Sevei^ will follow later. 

The praying priests who yearly ascended to the top of the pillars or phalli, 
which Bacchus returning from India placed at HierapoUs, must have been a 
sort of steeple-Jack-priests ; for they made themselves crow's-nests^ and pulled 
up their provisions by a rope ; thpy ajsp beat a brass instrument, when praying 
for the blessing of the gods upon Syria, and so stayed-up for 7 days and 7 nights 
{De Dea Syra). " Lucian " here goes on to say that everyone who puts up a 
phallus to Bacchus puts a wooden man on its summit, for a reason he would 
not tell (" for the best reason in the world;" perhaps, in his own case) ; but it 
appeared to him that the men ascended the phalli at Hierapofis to represent this 
wooden man. It has occurred to me that the original imagery was not phalUc 
at all, but indicated the supreme deity at the summit of the Universe-axis. 

In the time of Vitruvius, round towers which had an e^g-shaped poinf were 
called phalse ; and the defence-towers of camps and towns in the middle ages 
had the same name, says Ducange. But Festus gave/a/a, and said they were 
so called because of their height, from falando, which with the Etruscans 
meant the sky (a falando, quod apud Etruscps sjgnificat caelum). " Falando/' 
somehow, does not look all right 

The device of the order pf the Gplden Fleece (which I always 
maintain tp be the starry heavens) contains two pillars, with the 
motto Plus ultra; and we must see the same dual Universe- pilla|* 
on the famous pillar -dollars ; which the Arabs however, viewing 
them horizontally, call " the father pf big guns." 

On Zt2/^r^ Sunday (4th in Lent, our Simnel or Mothering Sunday), 
at Halberstadt, the canons of the cathedral used in the 13th century 
to fix in the groynd before the church two posts six feet high with 
a wooden cone a foot high on the top of each — a strong reminder of 
the phalae. They then played with sticks and stones at knocking 
off the cones — just the '* three-sticks-a-penny *' of our fairs and 


Digitized by 



242 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

race-meetings. This was also done at Hildesheim on the following 
Saturday.^ This was said to be a commemoration of the destruc- 
tion of the Irminsul by Charlemagne, but the statement is obviously 
an antiquarian's shot, and is besides needless and unmeaning. 

Lord Tennyson has been struck by the dual-pillar conception as it appeared 
in Mailduinn's Voyage. 

And we came in an evil time to the Isle of the Double Towers ; 

One was of smooth-cut stone, one carved aU over with flowers. 

(The subject of duality in gods, irrespective of sexuality, will be 
taken up under the headings of " The Dokana " and " The Two 
Kabeiroi," as to whose double column see p. 201 supra.) 

It has been theorised (for example by F. G. Bergmann) that "the great 
perch or pole, or the two tree-trunks, or two oriented masts,'^ were sacred to 
the Sun ; but I have never met with a confirmation or proof of this. I suppose 
the idea is that the two posts were erected to give the meridian by their 
shadows ; but this is my own gloss (so far as I know) ; and I have met with 
just one factlet to suggest fiirther enquiry into this in the statement in Plato's 
Republic {s^S DE) that the two columns surmounted by gilt eagles on the top 
of Mount Lukaios, were to the £. of the earthen-mound-altar of Zeus Lukaios. 
Chambers's Handbook of Astronomy (4th ed. ii, 195) shows how with one pole 
and its shadow, and concentric circles, the meridian may be nearly got at Mid- 
summer ; and Ptolemy in the Almagest (iii, 2) described a single pole at Alexan- 
dria, for — with a knowledge of the exact N. — getting an approximation to noon. 

" Then Adons^i answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said ....** 
— (jQbxxxy\\\y I.) 

THE PILLAR WINDGODS. The superfoetation of the Pillar 
symbolism did not come to an end in Japan when the pillar and its 
god became dual ; for this dual deity was also worshipped there in 
archaic times as the male and female gods of Shina or Wind, as 
the valuable old rituals translated by Mr. E.'M. Satow show.' 

Why the winds shoiild be thus identified with the pillars that 
support the heavens has long puzzled the commentators. The 
difficulty seems to lie in not analysing the secondary idea Wind, as 
here employed ; and we actually find (as Mr. Satow pointed out) 
that the alternative wind-name for the pillar-gods, Shina, can mean 
' long-breathed.' Here we have the idea of the atmosphere, the 

* Eckart, De rebus Framue^ Wurzburg, 1729, p. 221. Meibom, De Irnunsula 
Saxonua, p. 20, (in M. Goblet*s book p. 142). 

• Gyl/a Ginning, 2nd ed. 223. 

■ Tram, As. Soc. Jap. vii, 418 ; Pure ShintS, 82, 83, 86 ; Handbook of Japan, 396. 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] The Dual Pillars. 243 

motion of which gives wind, and of course we currently talk of a 
broken-winded horse and of a runner getting his second wind and 
so on. Thus the notion of representing the heavens to be upheld, 
and the space bet^\'een Earth and heavens to be filled, as a bladder 
is filled, by the resisting air seems neither strained nor far-fetched, 
although it is a conception of a quite different order from that of 
the heavens-pillars, and perhaps of a later date than the pillar- 
myth ; and this theory finds support in Mr. Satow's surmise that 
" the worship of the Winds at Tatsuta seems to date from after the 
introduction of Buddhism."^ 

The ancient norito or ritual is for the worship of the kami " to whom is 
consecrated the Palace built with stout Pillars at TatsuTa no TachiNu in 
YamaTo." Of course this is for me a symbol of the heavens-palace ; and it is 
at least odd that tatsu (or tatu) to stand, is as like the tat of Ptah (see p. 219 
supra) as we could desire to have it. Then tachi (or tati) comes from tatsu, 
ta = field, and nu = jewel ; yama is mountains, and to may be gate or place. 
Thus the name of the site of the palace or temple to these gods is " the upright 
(or upheld) jewel of the upheld-fields of the mountains-place or -gate." All 
which is celestial, as will be seen on reference \o nu-ho)^ p. 67 supra^ and 
the Section on " The Heavens-Mountain" in VoL II. 

There is another point of contact between the pillar and the 
wind ideas in the belief that these Japanese wind-gods bear the 
prayers of men to the supernal powers, and therefore are, in this 
sense, a means of communication between Earth and heavens. 

But what I have been ai^uing about the pillar-win^s seems 
now almost superfluous, for, just as this Section is going to the 
Printers, I find (5th December 1891) that the very same idea of 
the winds as pillars is in the Ethiopic Book of Enoch :* 

" I then surveyed the receptacles of all the Winds, perceiving that in them 
were the ornaments of the whole creation, and the foundation of the Earth. 
I surveyed the Stone, the Comers of the Earth. I also beheld the 4 Winds 
which bear-up the Earth ai^d the firmament of the heavens. And I beheld the 
Winds occupying the Height of the heavens ; arising in the middle of the 
heavens and of Earth, and constituting the Pillars of the heavens. I saw 
the Winds which turi^ the sky, which cause the orb (? sphere) of th^ sim ^nd of 
all the stars to set ; and over the Earth I saw the Winds which support the 

This parallel is on^ of the very numerous happy coincidences 
that constantly l^eep turning up fo^ me in the course of this Inquiry ^ 
and lead me to believe^ a^ to its main theox)', that " there may be 
something in it" Tlie Book of Enoch too is here quite accordant 
with what the SCibbas say of the four Winds (p. 160 supra), 

^Murrf^y*s Hi^nddif^k of Japan, p. 7a * Laurence's translation, 1821, xviii, i to 6. 

Q ^ 

Digitized by 


244 The Night of the Gods, [A. 


That this Book of Enoch was in great part a mystic cosmic rhapsody, of 
the same school with the grapd Apocalypse which has found a restingplace in 
the Christian New Testament^ must strike even the most casual and careless 
reader. Bishop Laurence (p. xli) also said the Book copied Daniel 

In the RigVeda the Maruts, the Wind-gods, and also, as I 
desire to make them, the MiH-gods (root mar grind, whence mola 
mahlen mill mortar) " brought-together heavens and Earth, both 
firmly established " (vi, (^^ 6) ; ** heavens and Eartji were joined 
together " by the strength of the Maruts (viii, 20, 4). Not alone 
so, but they "hold heavens and Earth .asunder" (viii, 94, 11), just 
as we shall see Indra doing in the Section on " The Wheel " : 
" powerfully separating two wheels with the axle, as it were, Indra 
fasteneth heavens ai)d E^rth " ; and Indra wjas the fellow of the 
Maruts. Here it seems to me indubitable that we also have 
the Winds as axis-gods. 

See too the very remarkable Greek connexiofi of Boreas with 
the two pills^rs just giyen abgv^ (p, 237) ; nor should I here omit 
fresh mention of the fampus Tower of the Winds at Athens. 
Among the most famous of ancient pillars are the two (already 
mentioned, p. 237) erected by Usoiis, brother of HypsOuranios 
(= over-heavens, or beyond-tail } see pp. 23, 46), to Fire and Wind, 
whose worship he instituted.^ In New Zealand the wind-god of 
the hurricane dwells near his father Rangi, the heavep^-god, in the 
free air.? 

Hasan ben Sabbih (afterwards better known to hig allies the Templars ^& 
the Old Man of the Mountain), Omar Al Khayyam! thje poet-a^tronqmer, and 
NizAm-ul-Mulk the vizjer, were all three sworn schoolboy friends. Hasan, the 
Assassin, ultimately had Nizim k^ll^d after his own fashion, and ** when Nizim- 
ul-Mulk was in the agony he said * Oh Allah ! I am pa^sin^ away in the hand 
pf thp Win(f ! ' " Omar seems to have used this :* 

With them the seed of wisdom did I sow, 

And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow \ 

And this was all the harvest that I reaped — 
' \ came like Water, and Ijke Wind I gp.^ 

[On the subject of the Universe -Axis as pillar, column, spine, umbrella- 
stick, chunj-Stick, treetrunk, lance, arrow, spear^ pole-axe, tower, spindle, 
ladder ; and even as cord and line, I would beg the reader to turn to Dr. 
Warren's Paradise Found; the Cradle of the Htfman Race cU tfu North Pole,'] 

* Euscb. Pfep, Mv. i, 10. Didot's /ra^. Iftst. Grac. iii, 566, 

* Lang's Custom and Myth. 

■ FitzGerald's Omar Khayydm^ 4th ed. 1879, pp. vi, 8. 

Digitized by 


Myi/isJ\ The '* Gate of Heaven^' or Dokana. ^45 

ai^-^^The "Gate of Heaven>^^ or Dokana. 

" Have the Gates of Death been revealed unto thee ? or hast thou seen the 
ftates of the shadow of the dead ?" — (Job xxxviii, 17.) 

{in order to complete the dual-pillar, I am here forced to anticipate some 
of thte Sections oti "The Number Seven" and also on "The Two Kabeifoi," in 
which latter the DiosKouroi will also be dealt with.] 

AVERY strahge point about the DiosKouroi is or are their 
^oKavoj their most ancient presentment in Lakonia where 
Welcker put the origin of the symbol > Bottiger saying Asia, and 
especially Phoenicia. 

^Kova from doK<$r, a baulk of timber, a word which i suggest embraces the 
same senses in Greek that axds does in Latin, namely those of axle-tree and 
beam-of-wood or plank. 

This or these mysterious symbol or symbols consisted of two 
upright and parallel timbers joined transversely by two others ; 
and represented the DiosKouroi in their fraternal union ; for at times 
the twins bore the duplex emblem complete ; at others, when the 
divine brothers wiere separate, each carried orie half of the iok&va ^ 
an exact parallel to the halves of the Roman tablet called tessera 
hospitalis, or of the common tally> or of a true-lover's token, or of 
an ancient terra-cotta or other passport^ all over the Eastern and 
modern worlds. 

The tessera hospitalis t>f the Romans, the av/ifioKov oT the Greeks, atid thfe 
chirs aelychoth, the shetd of guest-friendship, t)f the Carthaginians, have all 
been connected by Ihering, Haberiand, Leist, ahd Dr. O. Schrader.* King 
Hakon of Nofway, in the 23rd chapter of his Saga, splits-up a war-arrow, 
which hfe sent off in all directions, and by that a number of men were collected 
in all haste."* 

The word dokana is kept quite out of ken in the etymologies of our own 
word token^ though the resemblance both of the things and -of the words is 
striking. MiddleEnglish token, AngloSaxoti tdceti tdcn, Dutch teeken, Ice- 
landic tdkn teikh, Danish tegn, Swedish teeken, German zeichen, Gothic 
taikns, are all cited by Prof. Skeat, who says index is also from the same root : 
which is €Uk to shew. But dokana is left out in the cold. 

The DiosKouroi were also War-gods, which shows their supreme 
rank ; and therefore their emblem the BoKava, or one half of it, 

' Prehist, Aryan Aniiq, (1890) p. 351. « Heimskringla (1889) ii, 31. 

Digitized by 


^46 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

accompanied the Spartan kings to battle. The Semites took 
their gods into battle with them ; the ark was brought into the 
camp of IsraEl (I Sam. iv, 7), and David looted the Philistine idols 
at Baal-Peraztm (II Sam. v, 21). Lord Crawford points out in his 
(posthumous) Creed of Japhet (p. 132) that "the legend of the 
partition of the Bo /cava, as reported by Herodotus, passed into 
the early Christian mythology, where we may recognise it in the 
partition of the two arms of the cross of our Lord, the capture of 
one of them in battle by the Persians, and the successful crusade 
of Heraclius for its recovery."^ 

The Dokana was also, or became, the well-known sign of the 

constellation Gemini, iHl or | | or ) ( ;* and Plutarch in the 

first lines of his writing on Fraternal Friendship mentions (in 
accordance with what is above shown) that at Sparta the Lace- 
daemonians honoured Castor and Pollux, their tutelary gods, under 
the form of the wooden parallels.' 

In Samoa the mythic female twins UIu and Na were joined by the backs 
when bom. When grown up, they were startled out of sleep by the throwing of 
wood on the fire, and in their fright ran with great force at different sides of a 
housepost, and so were parted.* In Turner's Samoa (p. 56) is a variant which 
says that Taema and Titi were the names of two household gods in a Samoan 
family. They were, like these girls, " Siamese twins," united back to back. In 
swimming they were struck by a wave which separated them. Members of this 
family going on a journey were supposed to have these gods with them as their 
guardian angels. Members of the family could not sit back to back, for it 
would be a mockery and insult which would incur the displeasure of their gods. 
Every thing double, such as a double yam and so on, was taboo to them, and 
not to be used under penalty of death. Here is a supreme sanction of a dual 
myth as like that of the DiosKouroi plus their dokana as we are likely to get it : 
and it is humbly submitted to the attentive notice of the migrationists. 

It seems to me that the Sanskrit yamd twin can be explained here from 
yam to hold ; the twins being considered as held-together. The great typical 
Twins that belong to this yamd conception are of course Yamd the first man 
and his twin-sister Yam!. The " remarkable hymn in the form of a dialogue, 
in which the female urges their cohabitation for the purpose of perpetuating 
the species,"* is a straightest parallel to the Japanese legend of the brother 
and younger sister Izana^' and Izanam/ (inviting-male and inviting-female) in 
the 4th chapter of the Kozhiki,^ They go round The Pillar too, the palace- 
pillar, like as in the Samoan legend. In Japanese and Sanskrit we thus have 

* Gibbon, ch. xlvi. 

' Guignaut's Creuzer, ii, 311, 321, 1085, iioi, iioa Bailly Astron, Anc, ix, 41 

p. 5M). 

* Plutarch, Defrat, amor, p. 949 Wyttenberg. * Rev. G. Pratt, Folk-Lore, ii, 457. 

* Dowson's Diet, (2nd ed.) 373. • See Mr, Chamberlain's version, p. 2a 

Digitized by 


Afytks.'] The ** Gate of Heaven,'' or Dokana. 


not only the twin duality (as in Samoa, and in Castor and Pollux) but the sexual 
duality also. This typical myth thus seems to me critical, and of the very first 
rate. We shall have to discuss the gyrations of Izanagi and Izanami in the 
Section on " Circular Worship " in Vol. II. It now appears that such anomalies 
as the Siamese twins, the "two-headed nightingale combination," Milly- 
Christine, Rosa-Josepha (1891) and so on, are to be explained in embryology 
by the occasional penetration of two spermatozolds into the ^%%, (M. Henri 
Coupin in Rev, EncycL 1892, 285 ; 1891, 949.) 

But perhaps the oddest thing about this symbol as a sign in 
the celestial sphere is its presence in the Chinese charts (in our 
Taurus and Orion) where it is named T'ien-tsieh, or Heaven- 
tally ; each portion of it closely resembling one 
half of the BoKapa, and also the Chinese radical 
P, tsieh, a stamp.* This character and its 
signification must come from the ancient prac- 
tice of stamping a knot of bamboo, and then 
splitting bamboo and stamp down the middle, 
in order to give one half to an envoy or 
traveller, as a token, which verified itself on 
subsequent comparison with the other half. 

which had been retained. 
Chinese frontier-barriers. 

Thus were passports given at the 

There is yet another idea which 
has presented itself to me about 
this SoKava. Reference to a 
celestial globe or star-map makes 
it apparent that the figures made 
by the Seven Stars 
of the Great, and 
also of the Little, 
Bear are almost 
parallel in reversed 
directions. Further, 
if lines be drawn 
from star to star, 
as shown in the 
diagram, similar 
figures are obtained, 
not so very unlike 


* Vxot G. Schlegel's Uranog. Chinoise p. 374. -^, f,^, ir, p, and P iazzi^s 146, are in 
Taurus ; Piazzi's 214 and the other are in Orion. 

Digitized by 


248 The Night of the Gods {Axis 

one half of the Sofcava, if we imagine it divided like this: LT. 
It may be said at first blush that this is merely ingenious ; and 
indeed the fancy might stop there, were it not that the double 
constellation of the two Bears was also known as Geminae to 
Ovid (MeL iii, 45), Propertius (ii, 22, 25), Hyginus {Astron, ii, i), 
and Cicero, who employs the Greek form.^ 

Virgil also has, twice over, "geminosque TKones,"* twin 
Tridnes, a very piizzling word, which Varro (vii, 74) and Aulus 
Gellius said meant labour-oxen ; but it may very well come from 
rpia and fij/, and thus mean the Three Entities, the Triad. It 
occurs again in Sept^mTriorte^ or SeptenTriones, which is always 
used for the Bears, and theiice for the North. This may but 
half conceal from us the Seven plus thfe Three supreme ci^ntral 
Bfeings. I return to this under " The Arcana " and " The Number 

(Besides being twins, the Bears were of course also male and female, 
Arkas and Kallisto, see " The Number Seven.") 

A little more must how be said about the toKava from another 
slightly differing point of view. It is singular that, accoirdihg to 
Suidas, the tombs of the Tyndarides (that is, of Kastor and 
t'olyDeuk^s) in the archaic Spartan town of Therapn^, were also 
called BoKava, The Etytnologicum Magnum goes on to explain that 
the Bo/cava presented the appearance of an open tomb. This would 
be comparable to the Egyptian tomb-door which gradually 

developed into the funereal ste/a.^ J__i jni - Thus wte should 
have the Boxava as the entrance-doorway from this world to the 
hext^ the Restau ^^y^^I^ S^ (see also p. 250) ; and in view of 
the high northern celestial position of the twin Bearis, we might 
perhaps even view it as The Gate of Heaven^ the cfelestial doors 
from which in the papyrus of Amen-em-sdlif the defunct prays 
not to be repulsed. Mdy I not press into the serVite here an 

Egyptian word which has not yet been phonetically read 

but is explained by Brugsch {Monuments, 70) as " he who opens 
the doors of heaven ; " presumably the same as the heaven's door 

* De not, Deor, ii, 41. ' jEn. i, 744 ; iii, 516. 
■ Petrie's Season in Egypt, pp. 6, 21, 22. 

♦ Th. Dcv^ria, Catal, MSS. (1881) p. 9. 

Digitized by 


Myths?^ The '* Gate of Heaven'' or Dokana, 249 

porter^ (un) ^^ o"™"* ^ . It is remarkable and important 

/VVVs/W BUUUI uuiuu V A 

that the I I are so similar to the Chinese character for mun 

P^ gate, which we shdll have directly. 

Now, Professor Max Miiller, in the first of the Sacred Books of 
the East^ for which books we never can be sufficiently grateful, 
has shown that in all ancient cosmologies the Gate of Heaven 
is at the North Pole.' The wide spread custom Of burial to the 
North lends this a supreme import (see " The North '* infra). 
Asgard, the enclosure or garden of the Ases, is in the Northern 
centre of the world, at the summit of YggDrasill. There is the 
hlidskialf, th6 gate-house, Odinn's observatory*, which was 
" perhaps," wrote Bergmann, " a constellation in the zenith of the 
boreal sky."* The guess was not a bad one. In the Chinese 
sphere is found a Northern enclosure made by the Eastern and 
Western hedges 3|[ ^ tungfan and "g }|| sifan, formed 6f 1 5 
stars chiefly in Draco and Ursa-Major, bearing the names of the 
ministers and officers who surround the sovereign ; ahd an 
opening in the hedges is called Chang-H6 Muh ffl 21 PI *^ 
Gate of the heavenly home* ; a very close approach to the Norse 
train of ideas. Heimdall (Home-stone ? hearthstone ?) is stationed 
at the entrance of heaven where Asbrdi, the bridge of the Ases, 
abuts on Asgard, and the porter's dwelling, so placed, is called 
Himinbiorg, heaven-rocks. Here we have cropping-up the ihaya, 
rock-dwelling of the gods in the Japanese Anie, the heavens ; and 
also the rock-thirone which Nlnigi left when he descended through 
the 8-fold clouds to rule Japan, see pp; 37, 169, supra? 

At Amoy, records De Grobt in his excellent Fites cTEmouiy 
they have a feast on the 6th of the 6th month to celebrate the 
" opening of the gates of heaven, T'ien-bodin k'al ^ P^ ^ •" The 
Chinese character f^ mun or m^n a gateway or door (bodin at 
Amoy) has a perceptibly similar form to the dokana symbol. 
The Shin'-gaku (Heart-study) sect of Japanese eclectic Buddhists 
take also the additional title of the Seki-Mon' or Stone-Gate 
^5 P^ which must have a symbolic connexion with the celestial 
gateways or portals we are considering. 

> Pierrct, Vbcab. 753, ^i. * Upaniskads^ p. 36. 

■ Grimm, Myth. 778 ; Mallet, Northern Antiq. 406. * Gylfa Ginning^ 240, 246. 

* Vranographie Chinoise, 508, 510, 534. • Chamberlain's Kojiki^ p. ill. 

' Shingaku-Muhi no Hanashi, Vedo, 1842. 

Digitized by 


250 The Night of i/ie Gods. . [Axis 

(See, again, what is cited (p. 237 supra) from Apollonios of 
Rhodes as to the " path down from heaven, at the heavenly gates 
of Olympus, where are the world's two poles, the highest points on 
earth.") It is passing strange that on Ascension TAursds.ythe oaken 
doors of Lincoln*s-inn, by an ancient custom, are carefully kept 
shut In the Temple the same custom obtains, and in fact it may 
be said to be general. It is not a full explanation to state that 
this is done merely to preserve the ' right of way,' the parish 
bounds being beaten on that Bounds Thursday ; for why should 
all this be done on the day of a deity's ascent through the gates 
of heaven ? The colossal Pandarus (that is Pandaros), the com- 
panion of iEneas, shuts the gates of the Trojan camp against the 
Rutuli,^ but unfortunately not before he has allowed Tumus their 
rex-god to pass through ; and Tumus kills him (see also the slaying 
in the gates p. 253 infra). Here we have a colonial (?) continuance 
on Italian soil of the original Dardanian myth of Troia the 
celestial Trinidad, the heavens-seat of the Triad. Tumus is, as I 
so often point out, the Tumer of the heavens, here passing through 
their Northpolar gates. It is also one of the Samson-myths. 

The sepulchral. gate to the other world, too, would on that 
side of the theory fumish us with an apt and ample explanation of 
our own Lych-gates^ which have always been such antiquarian's 
puzzles. I suppose we are to see the dokana as lych-gate in the 

Egyptian "gate of the funeral passages," restau I^^^ 

(see also p. 248 supra) which was a name for the tomb-entrance, as 
well as the name of a mysterious locus often mentioned in the 
Peremhru. There were priests devoted to the worship of the gods 
of Rosta, who remind one of the Roman gods of the porch Limen- 

tinus and Limentina. Diana was called Limenatis. Ro 

and roi <::=> \ m ^_^ were names for the vestibule of heaven.* 

And perhaps this explains " the great mystic pyldns in the Under- 
world, seb^etu shetet aa amu (uaut* 

As the entrance to the next world this would also be the first 
threshold or the porch, the limen primum of the iEneid (vi, 427) 

^ ^n, ix, 652, etc. ; Portam vi multa converso cardine torquet 
« Pierrct, Diet. 486 ; Vocab. 297, 312, * Dr. Wallis Budge's Papyrus of NcH Amsu^ 
in Archaologia^ lii, 396, 433, 500. 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] The '* Gate of Heaven,'' or Dokana, «5> 

where the souls of infants wailed : Infantumque anims flentes in 
limine prime. 

(Of course it must be borne in mind — and if I ever seem oblivious of it, 
the Reader is requested kindly to put the most favourable construction upon 
the passage — that the Egyptian (later ?) belief was that as all celestial bodies 
rise, are bom, in the East, and set, die down, in the West, so therefore 
the resurgent soul rose from the Southern Underworld in the E., having 
previously (after death) entered that underworld in the Western (mountain and 
gate). But all this of E. and W. must by the^necessity of the case be cosmically 
viewed as secondary to the grander feet that the underworld was S., and to 
the grandest, the primest, fact of all : that the Cosmos worked on the great N. 
and S. bearings, of which the N. was the most sacred. (We shall have all 
this, I much fear ad nauseam, in the Sections on " The North " and " The 
South.") This gate-of-heaven interpretation is that which I also would apply 
to the explanation of the title " pharaoh " of the Egyptian monarchs which 
now " is but a noise," and was written per-Ai ^^ ^^^ lTj gate or house 

of the great The Pharaoh was also called Ruti <:^> j^ ^ \ \ which is also 

a word for pyl6n.^ The MiKado of Japan is mi, divine, and kado, door or gate. 
The Sublime Porte follows easily, and so do all the mythic janitors of heaven, 
down to St. Peter and the pope who now hold the keys. (P-aa = mighty one, 

king, lord f ^^^_^ ^ j seems to be a different title.) 

The most splendid examples of this gate of heaven are perhaps 

those of the Egyptian " pyldns " or Mahet ^^ '^ S and m ^ t? 

and 'Vs ^ S. This is both the gate of the pyldn and of the 

tomb, it would appear.* But we have also hat ^ S as a gate or 

pyldn and halt '^'^^ fll) ^^ which from the determinant f=^ 

must it IS suggested be the gate of heaven. The similar word 

hata rDQ^Qf==^ has the same meaning. Hauti (?) ITI J^\\ 

^ ^ ^ seems to be a plural of the same word. This being the 

hat, I suggest that the Ma-hat or Mahet is the True-gate. 

The Mahat is always crowned by the winged Sphere, as in the 
fine example at Kamak, that is Thebes (Apiu or Art or Apt ?) 
which forms the frontispiece of this volume. An alley of seshepu 
(sphinxes) generally connected the outer pyldn with the temple. 

The temple^ate itself was " a double pyldn "« ^^ . Mariette thus 

writes of my frontispiece : There (were 4, and still) are 3 of these 

> Pierret, Votab, 152, 301. * Ibid, 183, 320. ' Du Barry de Merval, Ettides, 227. 

Digitized by 


^52 The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

portals at the cardinal points N. S. and E. They were the 
entrances to the principal precinct of Karnak. The total height 
of the S. gate is 21 miftres. The S. gate, says M. Mariette, is 
wholly of Ptolemaic construction, showing the cartouches of 
Ptolemy Eiiergetfis 1 and his queen Berenice.* 

The Pyl6n at Edfu (S. end of the temple), which forms the 
frontispiece to Vol. II, is 35 metres (115 feet) high, describes 
Mariette,^ being 10 less than the column on the Place Venddme in 
Paris. The monument of London Fire lifts its tall head 202 feet, 
and I believe the Duke of York's coliinirt to measure 124 feet, just 
9 more than this pyl6ri. The temple was bounded by Ptolemy 
IV, Philopater, and finished 95 years later under Ptolemy 
IX (Euergfites II). The decoration is of Ptoleniy XIII, Dionysos. 
The 8 rectangular apertures, and the 4 long basal slots were for 
fixing what we call Venetian masts ending in banderolles. 
Consider what an immense length, or height, these masts would 
have. Some were as long as 45 metres (147 feet) says M. Pierret* 
Their name was bd or bait^ and ba meatis * tree.* 

Referring to what is said above (p. 147) as to Ahura Mazda, Mr. Herbert 
p. Darbishire draws my attention to the fact that mazdos is supposed to be the 
original form of Latin malus, mast.' Prof. Skeat, independently of this, alleged 
malus and ^axKo^ a pole, and coilcluded that the sense had reference to the 
might X^x strength of the pole thus employed (root magh to have power, as 
above on p. 147). This comes veiy near to making Ahura Mazda an axis-gtxl) 
and I claim it all as going to prove that these Egyptian masts may well have 
been originally axis-symbols. 

The puzzling phrase ** the Adityas " (thit is the Eight unbounded 
gods) " grew high like akr^h," in RigVeda x, TJ^ 2, here finds its 
place and its explanation. Grassm^n m^kes akrd:i= banner; 
Ludwigsays * column.' Prof. F. Max Miiller says " the meaning is 
utterly unknown."* I point to agra * tree-top," cucpa suitimit, and 
support both Grassman and Ludwig. And t shall add a reference 
to the Japanese (now partly Buddhist) war-god Hachiman, a 
doublet of his other name Yahata, and both meaning 8-standards. 
The Japanese legend makes the god Hirohata*yahata--Maro. 

These words hiro and ya are the same as we had supra at p. i68> and the 
connexion of this god and his 8 wide hata or standards with the 8 pomts is 
thus indubitable I think. As for maro (now marui) it means spherical or 

* Voyage dans la haute Agypie, ii, 13, 89, 9a 

* Diet, Archaol. Egypt, 

' F. Kluge in Kuhn*s ZeUschHft fur vergleichende Sprackforschung'xxsX^ 313. 

* Vedic Hymnsy 1891, p. 414. 

Digitized by 


Myths,'] The ** Gaie of Heaven,'' or Dokana. 253 

round SI or ]f(i, which is a further confirmation of the cosmic sense. The 
legend further says that these 4 white and 4 red banners (hata, a word which 
can also mean * side fell from heaven. " No satisfactory explanation seems 
ever to have been given of the name Ya-hata, eight-banners,"* so that my 
explanation is novel. 

The pyl6n of the temple of Khonsu, S. of Kamak, is 105 feet long, 33 
wide, and 60 high. It has narrow stairs leading to the top of t]ie gate, and 
thence to the towers. Four long in th^ facade, reaching up to one- 
third of the height, correspond to four square openings cut through masonry. 
Herein were fixed four great wooden masts from which floated Igng streamers 
of various colours.* These flapping banners were hoisted through these small 
square windows. 

Let me now pick up again what was said on pp. 179, ^ 80 as to 
TTi/Xi;, a gate, being the same as pila pillar and pilum shaft, nof 
forgetting the word TheripoPulai also there mentioned. Of 
course pulai, gates, mountain-passes, <;trait§ ; pu)is, small door ; 
pules, same as pul£ ; and pul6n, ha}l, pofcl), gate, door, are a)) 
closely-related words ; and it may be added that the pame Ilt/Xaca 
for the AmphiKtionic council of the IlvXat of ThermoPulai must 
have taken their name religiously from the Gate, just as the 
Buddhist sect does on p. 249 supra. This opens up a long vista of 
other gods of the gates, such as Pulad^s whose duality with 
Orestes makes the pair another version of the DiosKouroi, while 
the nan^ Pulad^s is a connexion with the dokana. This is why 
Ath^p^ wa^ called 7r]uXoTt9 and Ddm^t^r j^vXaiq, apd irvKayopa / 
it explains IlvXo^ the son of Ar^s, and the Pulos founded by 
Ndeus* and destroyed by ff6raK16s,' notwitl>stai)ding the defencp 
of the protean PeriKlpn^i^nos, there killed with all the other sons 
of N61eus save r^Testdr, who \yas called Pulios. It mpst alsp 
expl^n the name Pqladn or PulaiMpn^s of the brother of Nestdf. 
These brothers were Twelve, and therefore probably zodiacal ; and 
looking to the connexion oi pulai with the AmphiKtiops, this 
may well be the original dozen of that famous jury (see p. 181, 

We have another gate-god in Pulas, whose daughter Pulia PanDi6n 
espoused, and who, by another account^* was the founder of the town, polis, of 
Pulos. Note that Pal Las, by one genealogy, was son of PanDi6n and Pulia. 
Quite a little list of other names invite us : the Trojans Pulachantos and 

' Sato;[7 aod Hawes, Handbook of fapan, 2nd ed. 379. 

' M^spe^o^f Egypt Arch, (Edwards) 69. ' Apoll. Bibi, i, 9, 9. * Ibid, iii, is, S? 

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The Night of the Gods. 


Pul^os killed by Achillas, Pular^s killed by Aias (Ajax), and Pulon killed by 
PoluPoit^s ; PulaiMen^s the Paphlagonian killed by MeneLaos at Troy (see 
also Tumus and Pandaros, p. 2^0 supra) ; the town Pul^nfi of which the citizens 
went to the siege of Troy ; Pularg^ (arg^ = white) the spouse of Idm6n and 
daughter of Danaos and Pieria (see p. 142) ; and Pul6 daughter of ThesPios 
and mother by H^raKl^s of HippoTas. 

The pyl6n or gateway was evidently prominent at the 
Phoenician temple of Ashtoreth at Paphos, as may be seen from 

the local coins belonging even to 

the Roman period. It was most 

archaic in its clumsy rudeness. 

A coin of Julia Domna, mother 

j^^^ of Caracalla, gives thiis Paphian 

^^J _ tcm pie-gate (with the birds of the 

J l /* /Tl J a panesetori-i /«/>»?). Another 

Cypriot coin of Vespasian also 

gives the gate without the birds.* 

(Compare the holy monument 

Junder the gateway 

mas^^bh^h at p. 195,) 

with the 

Ka-Dingirra-ki, one of the native names of Babylon, is Gate- 
of-God-place.* The " god " here is Dingiri or Nana or Anatu, 
the consort of Anu, who was bom of Tiamat 

This gate-of-heaven theory explains the strange custom which 
still survives of crawling through dolmens, which might be called 
the rudest of torans (see p. 255), consisting of two great upright 
flattish stones and a cross-piece, thus TY* Dolmens are crept 
through at Kerlescant in Bretagne, at Rollrich in Oxfordshire, at 
Ardmore in Waterford and, by newly-wedded couples at Craig 
Mady in Stirlingshire. The dolmen in most of these cases is the 
holy gate leading to paradise, and to pass through it is to attain 
new life or immortality. At Michaelmas the Irish pilgrims still go 
to SkelHg-Michael, where, said Keating, the druidic pilgrim 
ascended to a stone called leac an docra, stone of grief, at the 
summit of the rocky mountain-island, and at the height of about 
150 feet crept through a narrow opening like a chimney which was 

' Given from the Cabinet du roi in Munter*s Die htmmlische Gottin zu Paphos ^ tab. 
iv, I. See La Chau, Dissert, sur VSnus^ 25. Donaldson's Archiiectura NumismoHca^ 
and Perrot and Chipiez, VArt^ iii, 1 20, 266, 27a 

« Dr. Wallb Budge : Bahyl /Jfe and HisL 14. 

Digitized by 


Afyi/is.'] The *' Gate of Heaven'' or Dokana. 25s 

called " the eye of the needle. ' The stone was long ago replaced 
by a stone cross.^ 

In Syrian Moab one ancient and many more modem examples 
of this gate are to be found.* In the Aksa Mosque at Jerusalem 
too, pilgrims have squeezed through two pairs of pillars until they 
have been worn away by the practice, in order to secure an entry 
into paradise, which reminded Capt. Conder* of " threading the 
needle " in Ripon Cathedral. I think that Baal Peor (see p. 196) 
the Lord of the mountain-pass, slit, or opening, falls into my 
present category, as a heavens-mountain-gate god. 

A jaunty friend who takes an intermittent interest in these speculations 
writes me : " As to your dual-pillar arguments, have you considered and 
accounted for the famous old sign of The Blue Posts V^ It should be remem- 
bered, by the way, that this is not an inn Sign in the ordinary sense of that 
term, but a pair of actual Posts, between which posts entrance is effected. 

The connexion of the Soxava with the Hindil toran or gateway 
to a tope seems inevitable. Although of stone, the toran is 
obviously an intentional and slavish copy of a wooden forerunner, 
as Fergusson pointed out in his Tree and Serpent Worship and his 
Indian Architecture (p. 87). These original wooden constructions 
must have been of simple upright beams and crossbeams, much 
resembling th^paild (honour-arch) of China and the tori-i of Japan. 
Indeed toran, if viewed as a Buddhist importation, may give us 
the origin of the puzzling word tori-i, which in Japanese means 
literally and merely bird-perch. The tablet upon the tori-i is 
called in Japan a sotoba, which is derived by the Buddhists from 
the Sanskrit stftpa,* A stftpa however is a tope, and the source 
of sotoba may be rather the word stambha, as we shall have occasion 
to see a little farther on. 

The toran or gateway of the Indian tope is, says Fergusson again,* " as 
the Chinese would call it, a pailoo." "In China and Japan their descen- 
dants are counted by thousands. The pailoos in the former country 
and the tons [tori-i I. O'N.] in the latter are copies more or less correct 
of these Sanchi gateways, and like their Indian prototypes" [the terms 
"descendants," "copies," and "prototypes" remain unproved. I. O'N.] "are 
sometimes in stone, sometimes in wood, and frequently compounded of both 
materials. What is still more curious, a toran with five bars was erected in 
front of the Temple at Jerusalem, to bear the sacred golden vine, some forty 

' Po^sus des Bardes by D. O'Sullivan, Paris, 1853, p. 95* 

' Condcr's Beth and Moab^ p. 233, 293. » Murray's Handbook ofjapan^ p. [78]. 

* Jnd, Arch, p. 87. 

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The Night of the Gods. 


years before these Sanchi examples. It was partly in wood, partly in stone, 
and was erected to replace one that adorned Solomon's Temple, which was 
wholly in bronze, and supported by the celebrated pillars Jachin and Boaz " 
(p. 99). See p. 237 supra^ as to these two pillars. Solomon's temple, as we 
now know,* was probably built by the Tyrian artizans as a purely Phoenician 
temple ; and the gate thus connects itself at once with the just mentioned 
Paphos gate. 

Here is a rude and little sketch of a tpran leading to the 
great tope at Sanchi. The pail6 in China is 
generally a monument to the specially-honoured 
dead. It is frequently of wood, and when in 
stone retains closely, as the toran does in 
India, all the details of a wooden construction. 
^^^It consists of two posts and a rail making 
one gateway, or more elabo- 
rately of four posts and a greater 
number of crossbeams. Of the 
latter kind I give a roujgh out- 

Farther on (p. 45 1 ) Fergusson 
mentions ^* those torans or trium- 
phal archways, which succeeded 
the gateways of the Buddhist 
topes." Again (p. 700) he des- 
cribes the Chinese "pailoos or 
triumphal gateways, as they are 
most improperly called." One^ 
knows not why Fergusson (except that they are also ancestral in 
China) made this last denial, tte calls them triumphal himself 
elsewhere, and they seem to have an identical origin with what we 
have been accustomed always to call triumphal arches from at 
least Roman times. Triumph itself is one of those proyoking 
words which are labelled " root unknown ;" but it is very possible 
that, like almost all the other words in trir, it has its origin in a 
triad, and that in the case of triumph that triad is the supreme 
one of the three central great gods, and that it was originally, as in 
the Arvalian hymn (see " The Arvalian Brothers" in Vol. 11)^ a 
shout of praise in worship, like hallelurjah. I see that General 
Cheng-ki-Tong in his French novel L Homme Jaune^ renders paild 
by arc de triomphe. But he had a French collaborateur. 

* Rawlinson's Hist, of Phanicia. * Eastern 4rch, pp. 7DI, 63. 

' Le Temps, 30 July 1890. 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] The '^Gate of Heaven,'' of Dokana. 


hiMpofi^i hynin to Dionusos, and 3piafifios hymn, are now considered 
both to be foreign words. From the first, we conclude a form Bvpay^os for the 
second ; and this is borne out by dpidCa I rage (like a prophet) when compared 
with Bvpaofiayris the Bacchanalian frenzy ; and this again must be linked on to 
Bva<r» I shake, and 6v<a I rush rave rage. Hence, as Willamowitz-Moellendorf 
has suggested, Bplofipos contains the meaning divine, and also indicates a 
combined hymn and dance of praise and worship. Although the dt- might 
seem to indicate a " one-two " measure, this line of argument seems to exclude 
the idea of /Aree (rptis) steps or times in the dance and music of the Mnambos, 
which word may then further be pursued into the Latin triumphus and 
triumpus through hypothetical forms such as 3piofifios, rpioptf>os,'^ 

The paild becomes a paifang in Western Yunnan. (See what 
is stated as to the weikan of this country at p. 193 supra,) Pai- 
fang^ are there common near almost every hamlet, and are built 
with wooden posts and beams, and a tiled roof,' the sides being 
partly filled in with brickwork. Sometimes 
the roofs are of thatch (which may have been 
the most archaic roofing of these gates). 
The likeness here to our lychgates (see 
p. 250 supra) is very striking. 

Mr. Colquhoun gives (i, 348) an 
excellent large engraving of a 
paifang at Kwangnan in E. Yun- 
nan, and I venture to outline the 
smaller sketch of another also 
there given. It had been put up 
as a memorial of a widow who 
died at the age of 80. A sketch 
of the simplest form of paifang is 
added (from ii, 
30). Mr. Col- 
quhoun says 
" the paifang 
(or toran of 
in honour of^ 


India) is erected 
widowhood, office- holding. 


longevity " ; but I must not stop now to argue these points. " A 
widow who will kill herself for grief at the loss of her husband is 
sure of an obituary notice in the Peking Gazette, and a commemo- 
rative arch or pailou will be erected to her."* 

> E. R. Wharton's Eiyma Latina, 

» Colquhoun's Across Chrysi, ii, 156, 162. » Allen's Book of Chi, Poetry, 1891, p. 165. 


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The Night of the Gods. 


The Japanese % jg tori-i or " bird-perch," as it superficially 
can mean, is said to have been for sacred birds (in which there is 
nothing celestially inconsistent, as readers who persevere with this 
Inquiry will see in Vol. II). It consists, like the dokana, of two 
great posts and cross-beams. Here is one from a working drawing 

in the little Shoshoku gwakutsura,^ 

' which also exhibits the central tablet 

or sotoba. Many others had arrived 

at Fergusson's theory, independently 

of Fergusson, in so far as the pail6 

j^ f I M and tori-i are concerned ; and I, for 

v2L I J one, would fully agree with him as to 

jS il iJL ^« identical origin for all threfi — toran 

"5V /7J i__L pail6 and tori-i — ^were it not that so 

leading an authority upon Japanese 
subjects as Mr. E. M. Satow* throws 
doubt upon it, admitting at the same time that the explanation 
bird-perch unfortunately throws no light upon the question of 
the origin or use of the tori-i. There are endless numbers of 
these tori-i ; some of stone and some of bronze, but generally 
of wood. The ** birds " may be intended for the souls of men 
passing through and perching in their way on the gate to 
the next world. We may see perching birds sculptured on the 
torans which are called kirti stambhas at Worangul in Fergus.son.* 
These kirti stambhas are as like tori-i as they well can be. The 
birds are also found on the Paphos gate (see p. 254 supra) which 
must seem to anyone to be a very strange coincidence. 

As the forms of the wooden tori-i are of importance for my 
suggestions as to the wooden hoKava^ another example from a 
Japanese (Buddhist }) picture is added. The legend on the little 
pillar is Hiyakudo ishi, the loo-times stone, between which and a 
small adjacent altar, pilgrims walk to and fro as a devout exercise. 
Here we get the gate, the pillar, and the pilgrimage together. 
Some other good specimens of tori-i will be found in Humbert's 
Le Japon Illustri. 

' A series of sketches for all trades, p. 15. An example very like this may be seen 
in Miss Bird's interesting and valuable Unbeaim Tracks in Japan^ i, 289. Note the 
wedges or tenons fixing the lower beam in the sketch above. 

« Murray's Handbook ofjapan^ p. [65] 2nd ed. ' ImL Arth, p. 392. 

Digitized by 


Myths."] The ''Gate of Heaven,^ or Dokana, 


I thus seek to connect the Dokana symbol with the Northern 
celestial gate, of which I also theorise that the Japanese tori-i, the 
Chinese pail6 and paifang, the Indian toran, the Egyptian mahat 
or pyl6n, the Phoenician Paphos gate, the Roman triumphal arch, 
the Celtic dolmen, and the English lychgate, were each and all 



K 2 

Digitized by 



The Pillar-Axis as Tower. 

22. The Round Towers of Ireland. 

23. Some other Towers. 

22. — ^The Round Towers of Ireland. 

THE considerations urged in the foregoing pages in regard to 
the ubiquitous Pillar as an outcome of the Universe-Axis 
myths will probably have struck the reader as admitting of wider 
application. Let us consider from this point of view the Irish 
Round Towers, which have already furnished matter for intermin- 
able discussions without leading to any sufficing conclusion. 

In his memorable Essay on the " Origin and Uses of the Round 
Towers of Ireland," Petrie adduced proofs of the building of such 
towers as bell-houses, cloictheach^ by early Irish Christian kings 
and saints. The peasantry still call such a tower a cloictheach or 
a clogas (belfry), or use some cognate term. Therefore — ^so one of 
Petrie's arguments ran — the towers are Christian belfries ; con- 
structed nevertheless so as to serve at the same time as keeps or 
places of refuge, and as church-treasuries, and also as beacons and 
watch-towers.* This is what is called, by a commercial metaphor, 
in the easy language of to-day, ** a large order ; " but even if all 
this were admitted, it would not account for the " origin " or source 
of the pillar-like form of the towers themselves, nor for others of 
their singularities. 

Another leading argument of Petrie's was that these towers are 
found only near old churches or their sites. If reversed and put 
this way : old churches are found near round towers, the true 
weight of the statement is felt 

There is no church near the round tower of Antrim ; and the uncorrupted 
name of the place, Aentreibh or Oentreb = One-house, may carry some signifi- 
cance in this matter.* 

' Eccies, Archit, of Ireland {D^hMu^ 1845). * Ijox^ Dunraven's Notes, ii, 2^ 

Digitized by 


The Round Towers of Ireland. 261 

And it would really be a firmer argument — though not one 
leading to the same conclusion — to say that the round towers are 
only found near ancient burying-places. 

For there is no a priori reason why a church should have a burial-ground 
attached to it ; while it is, on the other hand, almost natural that a burial-ground 
should come to have a sacred place for the performance of the rites of ancestor- 

Petrie too stated this particular conclusion of his much more 
dogmatically when he made the bigger assertion* that the towers 
•* only held the places of accessories to the principal churches in 
Ireland." I, on the contrary, suggest that it was all " the other 
way up." Christians may have built, did build, such towers ; but 
who began building them? It is quite possible that the early " con- 
verted" Christian -pagan Irish may — nay by all analogy must — 
have continued prior pagan forms in their religious edifices ; and 
not alone so, but the early Christian Irish must have appropriated 
the buildings of previous cults. When one faith is succeeding and 
supplanting another, the change is not made by an instantaneous 
right-about-face ; the alteration must be gradual to be successful ; 
the evolution proceeds slowly ; there remains a great deal of super- 
stitio, much is left standing. The mantle of Elias always descends 
to some Eliseus, the new gods take up the myths and trappings of 
the old. The later creed impropriates the rites sites and sacred 
buildings of the older one ; but at the same time proceeds to dish 
up everything anew, in its own way. The practical change is, 
taking a broad view, in great part rifacimento and development. It 
is humanly impossible to be off with the old god before you're on 
with the new. 

I shall here quote a weighty remark of Prof Rh^s's, cognate to 
this subject* 

The GoidePs feith in Druidism was never suddenly undermined ; for in the 
saints he only saw more powerful Druids than those he had previously known, 
and Christ took the position in his eyes of the Druid Kar^e^oxrjv, Irish Druidism 
absorbed a certain amount of Christianity ; and it would be a problem of 
considerable difficulty to fix on the point where it ceased to be Druidism, and 
from which onwards it could be said to be Christianity in any restricted sense 
of that term. " The gods or heroes," writes M. J. Loth, " who were not too much 
compromised in the pagan Olympus, or whom it would have been hopeless or 
dangerous to blacken in the minds of the Christianized Breton populations, 
were generally converted ; and in Wales passed over to the ranks of the Saints. 

* C/t supra, p. 353. ' Hibbert Lectures, 1 886, p. 224. 

Digitized by 


262 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

The list of them is thus, too, interminable."* " The legend of St Collen, who 
gave his name to Llan-gollen in Denbighshire, and to Lan-golen near Qoimper 
in Brittany shows that it was not without labour that the ChriBtian priests 
succeeded in blackening the ancient god Gwynn son of Nudd in the minds of 
the Welsh." But his name became at length equivalent to " the devil"* 

St Patrick " raised the Christian Altar by the side of the Pillar," writes 
Lady Wilde ;• " his mode of action was full of tact. He did not overthrow the 
pagan rites, but converted them to Christian usages." 

Sven Nilsson's view is also straightly to the point : 

"Every religious change amongst a people is properly speaking only an 
amalgam of diverse religions. The new one, whether introduced by force of 
persuasion or by fire and sword, cannot at one go tear-up out of the mind 
of the people all the tenuous and multiple rootlets that the preceding religion 
had sent forth. It requires generations without number, perchance thousands of 
years, before that can be completely effected. And that is why the study 
of popular legends and superstitions is of such importance,"* 

Pope Gregory the Great, writing to the Abbot Mellitus, approved 
of St Augustine's (circa 600 A.D.) not interfering needlessly with 
the leanings of his English pagan converts. He was to destroy 
no old temples, but, if solidly constructed — ^that is, if they were 
worth the trouble — to consecrate them as Christian churches ; to 
permit worship on the old lines, but under new names ; or, if he 
removed the idols from the heathen altars, he was not to destroy 
the altars themselves, because the people would be allured to 
frequent the Christian ceremonies when they found them celebrated 
in places they had been accustomed to revere. As the pagans 
practised sacrifices, and afterwards partook, with their priests, of 
the sacrificial flesh and offerings, Augustine was merely to prevail 
on them to immolate their victims near the churches, and was there 
to allow them to hold their festive meals for the love of the good 
God, and to drink in honour of him who creates and gives all 
things, in the huts they were accustomed to make round the 
temple with tree-branches.* 

The other St. Augustine (the Father) had also written earlier 
that temples are not to be destroyed, nor idols smashed, nor sacred 
groves cut down, but better was to be done by converting them, 
like their worshippers, from sacrilege and impiety to the uses of 
the true faith.* 

In A.D. 529 the last temple of Apollo remaining in Rome was 

* Lis Jidabinog, 1889, i, 12. ' Ibid, 253. 

' Ancient Cures, Charms^ and Usages of Ireland, 1890, pp. 86, 88. 

* Age de la Pierre, 3rd ed. Paris, 1868, p. 249. ' Bede, i, 30 ; Gr^. Episi. ix, 71. 

* Cum templa, idola, lud ... in honorem Dei convertuntur ; hoc dc illis sic 

Digitized by 


Myths ^ The Round Towers of Ireland. 263 

turned into a cloister.^ In 389 the Serapeum of Alexandria had 
been razed, and all the metal statues melted in Egypt for the uses 
of Christian worship. A portion of the buildings of the East were 
converted into churches. This policy did not prevent the ancient 
recourse to augury by Christian Consuls in the 5th century.* 

Witness too the conversion of Christian churches and cathedrals 
into mosques by the Moslem, almost solely by the mere addition 
of a minaret (see p. 276 infrd) — ^the chief quarrel thus being merely 
as to Xheform of the tower, and both faiths considering a tower 
indispensable ; which is an important consideration in favour of 
my cosmic theory. 

To claim all the strange and almost unique ancient Irish church 
ornamentation as a pure and sudden early Irish Christian eclosion 
would be counter to all other religious or architectural evolutions. 
And besides, all the elaborate and sometimes marvellous decorative 
stone-carving of the Towers and the churches, when peculiar, has 
no Christianity in it, as an examination of Petrie's own fine 
drawings makes obvious. His theory left no room in time for the 
growth of a so advanced and remarkable type and style ; according 
to his conclusions, the Round Tower must have issued totus teres 
atque rotundus* from the brain of some early Christian builder. 

Isidore, writing io the early 7th century, said Turres vocatac quod teretes 
sint et longae ; teres enim est aliquid rotundum cum proceritate, ut columnae ;* 
and, one might add, the limbs of Phyllis.* And Festus, some 500 years before, 
said teres meant that which is in longitudine rotundatum, as Nature furnishes 
us asseres, which must here be understood as timber, straight tree-trunks, fir- 
poles. The meaning given by Festus is most classic ; and the connexion of 
the tower, the pillar, and the tree is not to be missed here. But teres is always 
referred to tero (rub, here plane ?), and turris {rvpcris) is put with AngloSaxon 
torr = rock. Tor^ says Skeat, is in Devonshire a Celtic word for a conical hill, 
and it is so used in Limerick for Tory-Hill (see Tory- Island p. 267). This seems 
to supply a name^connexion between the axis-tower and the heavens-mountain. 

See too the very curious &ct about the earlier pagan and the later 

quod de bomitiibus, cum ex sacrilegio et impiis in veram religionem convertuntur etc. 
Ep. €ui Pmblic^ ^y, 

' lassanlx, Untergangdes HelUnismus^ 144, 148. 
* Salvian, De Gubem, Dei^ vi, 2. 

' Horatius : Quisnam igitur liber ? Davus : Sapiens, sibique imperioeus ; 
qaem neque panperies neque mors neque vincula terrent ; 
responsare cupidinibus contemnere honores 
fortis ; et in seipso totus teres atque rotundus ; 
extemi ne quid valeat per leve morari, 

in quern manca mit semper Fortuna. (Hor. Sat. vii, 2. The imagery is cosmic.) 
* Origines xv, 2. » Hor. Odes, ii, 4. 

Digitized by 


264 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

Christian sacred vessel, the capsa, cista or turris, being in the form of a tower 
("The Arcana"). 

Petrie admittedly^ chose his conclusions from among those 
which had already been separately advanced by Molyneux, 
Ledwich, Pinkerton, Sir W. Scott, Montmorenci, Brewer, and 
Otway. Among the theories rejected by Petrie are the following : 
that the Irish round towers were astronomical observatories, that 
they were of Phoenician origin, and that they were used by the 
Druids to proclaim festivals. If a pre-Druidical origin be sup- 
posed for the form of these towers, it is not unlikely that the sun- 
and tree-worshipping Druids may have annexed them ; or that 
the towers may have descended to the Druids in the ordinary 
course of that evolution in which sun-worship at length outshone 
and extinguished heavens- and Polestar-worship. The stone- 
worshipping Phoenicians may or may not have been connected 
with the pillar-towers — see for in.stance what is said about their 
temple-columns, pp. 237, 244 supra — and it would not be far wrong 
perhaps to call the towers star-worshippers' " observatories," in a 
religio-astrological rather than in the scientific-astronomical accepta- 
tion. But these points are of course of the very most speculative 
character, although they fit themselves easily into the argument. 
Then again, as to the ** beacon " and ** observatory " uses, it seems 
conceded that the four top windows just under the conical roof of the 
Round Tower look N. S. E. and W. " There are almost always 
four placed at opposite sides in the top story," stated Lord 
Dunraven,* " and generally so as to face the four cardinal points of 
the compass. There are only two in the top of Temple Finghin, 
and there are five in the upper story of Kells [four, p. 20], and six 
in that of Kilkenny." [There are six also at Kilmacduagh, p. 17.] 
Lingard* said lights were kept burning during the night in the 
New Tower at Winchester, which, as we learn from Wolstan, 
consisted of five stories, in each of which were four windows 
illuminated every night, looking towards the four cardinal points. 
I fail however to see the connexion between the illumination of 
the windows and their cardinal pointing ; the two facts seem to be 
perfectly independent in effect and in intention. 

As to Petrie's watch-tower hypothesis, it may be noted that Zephath, the 

* Ut supra, pp. 3, 118. * Notes on Irish Arch, ii, 151, 2, 17. 

' Anglo-Saxon Churches^ ii, 379, and see Petrie ut supray 374. 

Digitized by 


AfyiAs.'] The Round Towers of Ireland. 265 

name of the Canaanite city in Judges^ means a watch-tower ; so does Zepho 
the son of Eliphaz (strong fel) in Genesis xxxvi ; and the god Baal-Zephon or 
Tsephon is simply Lord of the North ; just as Baal-Shemain is Lord of 
Heavens, Baal-Hamon Lord of Hosts, and Baal-Tamar Lord of the (date- 
pahn ?) Tree.' We must clear our minds o the degraded vulgar idea that 
Baal is the Sun. Baal-Risheph was the Sun-god. 

There is another well-known occult theory of the round-towers— the phallic 
(Petrie, p. 4) which could be shown to be compatible with the main theory 
which is now here diffidently but advisedly advanced. The accessory signi- 
ficance of the ever active fashioning generative energy was anciently attendant 
upon and concordant with the world-axis conception ; at times the two run 
parallel, and again and again they converge and coalesce. And both are 
embodied in the rank, attributes, and symbols of the supreme Egyptian Ptah 
(see p. 66 sufira\ to whom I lay claim as a Polar deity. Petrie (p. 106) said 
that this phallic theory ** is happily so absurd and so utterly unsupported . . . 
that I gladly pass it by M-ithout further notice." But this obiter dictum did not 
dispose of the question. (See also pp. 199 and 240 supra,) 

Since Petrie's time, the third Lord Dunraven has, following up a sort of 
theory of Viollet-le- Due's about the Northmen in France, posited that as the 
Round Towers "are first mentioned in the annals of Ireland in the loth 
centyry, it would seem that they were erected for protection of the churches in 
consequence of the first attacks made upon the churches in the 9th century." 
The consideration of this subject is pursued in the "Concluding Essay"* of 
Lord Dunraven's superb Notes on Irish Architecture^ for which every Irishman, 
antiquarian or not, may well be grateful The value of the photographs of 
these departing monuments which the Notes contain cannot be over-rated; 
and it is to be hoped that they will continue to exhibit promise of permanence. 
The arguments for this theory need not detain us ; but the tables of dates, in 
the loth and previous centuries, are noteworthy. The defensive value, qu4 the 
adjacent little churches, of these tapering isolated towers, which have an 
internal diameter at the base of only from 7 ft. 10 in. to 10 ft 2 in. must be 
viewed as extremely dubious. 

By the way there is a low " military round tower " at Aghadoe near a true 
round tower. It is like "a circular Norman keep of the 13th century," is 21 ft. 
in diameter inside, and its walls are 6 ft. thick, while those of the true round 
towers are 3 or 4 ft. There are three more " military " towers known-of in 
Kilkenny, one in Waterford, and one in Wexford.* 

Lord Dunraven, although using the terms belfry and " cloicthech " through- 
out his work, seems to have abandoned the belfry theory, thus : "Viewed as simply 
belfiies and no more, they would appear as poor conceptions and failures in 
design ;" and he quotes with approval Dr. Lynch's Cambrensis Eversus {il, 191) 

» Rev. W. Wright's Empire of the HittUts, 76. 

' pp. 181, 182, the map, and passim. ' yotes^ ii, 35, 36, 

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The Night of the Gods. 




of the time of queen Elizabeth : 
"In course of time the custom 
was introduced of hanging bells 
in the top of them, and using 
them as beWries."* 

Here are tracings from 
Petrie (p. 363) of his typi- 
cal outlines of the Round 
Tower, for which purpose 
he chose the examples at 
Clondalkin and Rosscar- 


I f 

^ ^ d C m At ^ 

THE theory which I venture to advance is that the Irish 
Round Towers, as well in their form as in some other points 
connected with them, are a survival of an extremely ancient 
heavens-worship, and a symbol of the mighty axis round wWch 
the heavens, the universe, seemed perpetually and stably to 
revolve; and at the Northern end, the summit, of which the 
Most High, the Motionless, the Swayer, the Polar deity of the 
universe had his awful abode. 

And I further hazard the opinion that the Irish pillar-stones 
were minor analogous sacred emblems. 

Let me then first endeavour to show that it is not difficult to 
demonstrate the leading importance of a mythic Cosmic Tower in 
Irish l^[ends of the most archaic class. 

Under the heading of " The Wheel " will be given an Irish 

* Noies^ ii, 163, 170, 171. 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] The Round Towers of Ireland. 267 

Ship and Axis myth. Another form of it is in the Historia 
Brittanium of Nennius. Nimeth, sailing with his 30 keels, sees a 
glass Tower in the centre of the Ocean with men in it who never 
answer when spoken to. All the boats attack the Tower, and all 
are wrecked.* This was otherwise called Tor Conaing or Conaing's 
Tower, in Tor-y island or TorInis= Tower-island, which was at last 
demolished by the 30,000 children of Nemed. Tower-island is of 
course a figure for the Earth on the Tor-axis ; which gives a most 
respectable lineage to the high old tories. 

Considering that my proposed identification of Crete with the 
Earth, p. 138, was written after the above suggestion that Tor-inis 
also =s the Earth, I confess I find it somewhat strange to come 
across the following in D'Arbois de Jubainville: "this island, Tor- 
inis in the Irish narrative " [of the Tower of Conann] " is Crete 
in Athenian fable."* And I shall now add further that I think 
we must trace a Cretan tower-goddess in Tur6 (see also pp. 
136 and 285) who is consort both of Poseiddn and of Kr^theus ; 
that is the axis extends from Earth to Cosmic ocean (see p. 

M. d'Arbois also views the tower of Bregon as a second edition 
of the tower of Conann ; but as he places it in the land of the 
dead* (read the inferior hemisphere ?) we must I think see in this 
doublet a dual tower, like the dual pillars here already treated of. 
The tower of Conann is also reproduced, he considers, in the above 
tower of glass told of by Nennius, and M. d'Arbois identifies that 
again with the tower, Ti}p<r*9,of Kronos,* which I have here (p. 191) 
claimed as the Earth-axis. 

The wicked sorceress Cluas Haistig lives in an enchanted 
tower in mid-sea, which keeps ever turning.' Here we even have 
the cosmic rotation. Up this tower the thief^climber swarms — a 
clear variant of Jack and the Beanstalk. 

One of the earliest leading events in Irish Myth is the mythic 
defeat of the divine Fearbolgs by the equally divine Tuatha De 
Dananns, on the plain of the Fomorian tower, Muigh-tuireth 
(or Magh-tuireadh = Moytura) na bh Fomorach. The Fomorians 
were the ocean-giants of the North, of Lochlann. Now here is a 
mythic plain of a mythic tower, which I theorise to be but another 

> Rhys*s Hib, Lects, 263, 262, 584. ' Cycle Myth, IrU 103. 

» Cycle Myth, Irl 230. * Pindmr Olymp, ii, 70, 

* Folk and Hero Tales 0/ Argyllshire, 1890, 451, 

Digitized by 



The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

of the endless cosmic symbolisings of the plain of the heavens 
and its tower-axis of the universe. This great battle of the war- 
in-heaven has, like its parallel of the Seven against Thebes, a 
doublet in the second battle of Moytura between the same 
powers. Seven years afterwards. Nuadha Silverhand (airgeat- 
laimh) and Lugh Longarms (lamh-fada) and Balar Evileye or 
Mightyblows are of course divine powers ; and the battle takes 
place on the eve of Samain (Baal-shemain=Lord of heavens) 
our All-Hallow'een. The Irish divided the year by Beltane, ist of 
May, and Samain (also Samhuin, pron. Savin or Sowan) ist 
November ; which last the Christian church has succeeded in 
sinking in the feast of All-Saints. Thus the hosts of heaven 
fought in their war-in-heaven on their festival, which again com- 
memorated the event Balar of the Eye (of heaven) is also com- 
memorated to this day by the high tower-like rock or Tor m6r 
(= Great Tower) in Tory Island, which is called Balor's Castle. 

A very fine and important Irish legend, which is in brief in 
the Book of Lecan, and has been translated by O'Curry in the 
Atlantis and by Dr. Joyce,^ is that of the three sons of Tuireann 
whose name obviously indicates a Tower, that is as I theorise an 
Axis, power. The three sons of Tuireann kill Cian, a De Danann 
the fatiher of Lugh, the Lochlanns invade Erin and are defeated, 
and a fabulous series of Eric-fines are laid on the triad. They have 
to fetch the Three Apples of the garden of Hisberna ; the magic 
Pig's skin of Tuis of Greece ; the Spear with the blazing point; 
a chariot and horses that travel a3 easily over sea as over land ; 
the Seven pigs of Asal (Norse ?) the king of the golden Pillars ; 
a hound-whelp called Failinis (Erin is called Inisfail) belonging to 
the Northern king of loruaidhe (which seems a wheel name); the 
roasting-spit of the thrice fifty women of Fianchaire (white-rock ?) ; 
and finally the triad have to shout thrice on the hill of Miodhchaoin 
(miodh=mid, centre) in the North of Lochlann. During their 
quest they sail in an enchanted Canoe which is clearly a variant of 
the good ship Argo. 

Now all these are " properties " in celestial Cosmic Myths, and 
the whole of the exploits of this Tower, this Axis, triad are of a 
similar character. The Eric-fines are laid on them, too, in Miodh- 
Chuarta, Mid-court, the central heavens-palace of Tara (also a hill 

Old Celtu Romances y 1879, p. 37. 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] The Round Towers of Ireland. 269 

or tower name). Brigit, the mother of this triad is made a goddess 
by d'Arbois de Jubainville ; and she was daughter of Dagde 
(=good god) whom he holds to have been a supreme deity.* 

In a Gaelic story,* a king promises his slaughter and two-thirds 
of his kingdom to anyone who can get her out of a turret which 
was aloft, on the top of four carraghan towers. 

I just note here in addition the following passage from the 
Book of Lismore, apparently about the Saint Bridget, who suc- 
ceeded the same-named goddess : 

She was one night there after noctums praying, when appeared to her the 
churches of all Ireland, and a tower of fire from each church of them unto 
heaven. The fire that rose from Inis-Cathaig was that which was greatest 
of them, and was brightest, and was straightest unto heaven.' 

Here, it is submitted, I have given quite sufficient prima facie 
evidence of the leading position of the Tower among the radicals 
of the oldest Irish myths, and an ample suggestion of the 
symbolic importance of the Tower in pre-historic legendary 

Caesar, in a much-used passage,* identified the chief god of the Gauls with 
Merdirius. That this was done generally may be deduced from Gallo- Roman 
inscriptions, and one of these is a dedication Mercurio Touren \p]^ Bearing in 
mind my (proposed) identifications of Mercury (p. 53) as an axis-god, and of the 
tower with the axis, I suggest that we have the name of this Celtic god in the 
Irish Tuireann just mentioned (see also p. 286). 

Having thus dealt with the Irish mythic Cosmic Tower, let us 
return to the minor though doubtless older symbol of the upright 
stone, whether in myth, legend or chronicle. 

And first let me refer to Petrie for descriptions of the 
"obeliscal pillar-stones so numerous in this country."* The word 
gcUl was explained in Cormac's tenth-century Glossary as primarily 
the name of these standing stones, coirthe cloice, or pillar-stones ; 
and all over Munster, where they are very common, the word 
dalldn, said to be a corruption of galldriy a diminutive of golly is 
still used for them. 

> Cycle Mythol Irl 372. 

- Campbeirs Wat- Highland Talis, iii, 265. 

■ Mr. B. MacCarthy*s translation in Academy , 31 Jan. 1891, p. 114. 

^ Debello Gall, vi, 17. 

• Brambach, Corp, inscr. I^Aenarum, No. 1830. 

• Ul supra, p. 8. 

Digitized by 


2 70 The Nigki of the Gods. [Axis 

See pp. I47f 1349 where an effort is made to connect dall^ with the French 
dalle and the place-name MoyAoXa, as well as with DaiDalos. No Celtic 
scholar seems to connect dall with the first syllable of dolmtn. May it not 
be doubted that dall is only a " corruption ** of gall ? However, I find no 
place-names in Ireland containmg dall or dallkn, unless it be the ancient 
Northern Dakiadaor Dalaradia.^ The names Dalgan, Dalgin, and Dalligan 
are brought from dealg a thorn, which word may however be cognate with 

The name Dalian Forgaill is found connected with Finn's name in Irish 
myth, in the Leber na h'Uidhre. It is said to be the name of a 6th-century 
disciple of Columba's.' Heimdall in Norse mythology may mean straightly 
Home-stone ? (Icelandic, heima home, heimr abode village. Danish hiem, 
Swedish hem, Gothic haims village.) Of course the home-stone is the central 
hearth-stone, (see p. 280 infra). Compare Svegder seeking GodAeim in a 
stone p. 117 supra. The dwelling of the god Heimdallr (home-stone-er ?) is 
actually called HiminBi6rg (heavens-rocks) which seems to clench the proof 
of my case as to heim-dall (see ** The Rock of Ages ")• 

The word coirthe (pronounce, corha) is also still well under- 
stood, but is applied to a larger standing-stone, such as that on 
Cnoc a Coirthe, the hill of the pillar-stone, in Roscommon.* 

These words have given names to a great number of places in Ireland, 
such as Glemr^tr, Dmamacarray Gallane, Dmmgai/any AghsLgiiilim^ KWguUaney 
Czngulliz^ GallsLgh. There is another word for a standing-stone, liag^ (pron. 
leegavm, a diminutive of Hag a flagstone) and it has also given such place- 
names as Leegane, Liggins, Ballylegan, Tooraleagan, and so on.^ 

All tradition of the early significance of the dallin has, like 
that of the round towers, long since departed, and the enquiries of 
the enfant terrible now often elicit no more from his Irish nurse 
than that such stones were put up in the fields for the cows to rub 
themselves to. Even so long as nine centuries ago. Archbishop 
Cormac (McCulIenan) explained their name gall^ which is a rock 
or stone, as having arisen because the Galli first fixed them in 
Ireland. I propose to consider them as cognate emblems with 
the round towers ; relics of the adoration of an axis or Polar deity, 
and of the stone-worship from which that cult cannot be disjoined. 

* Dr. P. W. Joyce the able transUtor of the delightful Old Celtic Romances has 
kindly furnished me with the following note : " Dr. Graves in his Essay on Ogham 
throws out the suggestion that dallan is the original and gallan a cormption— on this 
ground, that pillar-stones were often set up to mark boundaries, and that they are called 
aallan firom dcU a division" (Letter of 12th December 189 1). Of course I say on this 
that the word dcU as a division followed from the sense of dal the holy stone, set up to* 
taboo the boundary. 

« Folk and Hero Tales from Argyllshire^ 1890, 428. 

' Petrie, ut sup, 19. * Joyce's Names, i, 342 (4th ed). 

Digitized by 


MythsJ] The Round Towers of Ireland. 271 

A passage from the " Leabbar na h'-Uidhre " clearly proves that 
stone-worship was, when that very ancient book was composed, 
still considered to have prevailed in Ireland in the third century. 

A great king of great judgements assumed the sovereignty of Erin — 
CormaCt son of Art, son of Conn the Hundred-fighter. Erin was prosperous 
in his time, because just judgements were distributed throughout it by him ; so 
that no one durst attempt to wound a man in Erin during the short jtibilee 
cA seven years ; for Cormac had the foith of the one true God according to the 
Law ; for he said that he would not cuhre stones or trees, but that he would 
adore him who had made them (Petrie, p. 98). 

Conn the Himdred-fighter is said to have been hard at work making his 
** century " circa A.D. i6o ; his death is put in 190. And C^dcathach means 
hundred-fighter, antagonist of a hundred, and not '* of the hundred fights,'' 
as it is generally rendered.* The British Cadwallader (cead-balladoir, hundred^ 
beater) is a synonymous title.' 

In Irish myth, Ecca (Eochaidh^ horseman), who appears to be 
a parallel to the centaurs, departs from Mumha with his brother 
Rib and ten hundred of his people towards the North, until by 
the advice of their druids they separate at the Pass of the Two 
Pillar-stones (see p. 255 suprd)^ whence he goes onwards to the 
heavens-palace, Brugh-na-Boinne, the home of Angus Maclndoc 
(see p. 228 supra\ One of the three venomous hounds overtakes 
Diarmait and Grania at Duban's pillar-stone.' In his Pursuit of 
the Giolla Deacair* (lazy gillie)^ a clear horse-god, Diarmait comes 
to a vast rocky cliff smooth as glass, and towering into the clouds. 
Having climbed it with the aid of his two long deadly spears, he 
sees on a vast flowery plain a great tree laden with fruit and 
surrounded by a circle of pillar-stones, while one tallest stone 
stands in the centre near the tree ; and by this great stone is a 
large round spring-well from the centre of which the water bubbles 
up and flows away over the plain in a slender stream.* Here is 
the Axis-pillar close by the Axis-tree, and the heavens-river 
flowing, as in all aiythologies, from the same central supreme spot. 
We have some of the same properties in the Welsh Owein 

D. O'SuUivan very properly remarked that the Irish hoh'est 

* Dr. Joyce's Celtic Romances^ 409, 418. 

* D. 0*Sullivan*s Poisies des Bardes^ Paris, 1853. p. 46. 

* Dr. Joyce's Celtic Romancesy 1879, pp. 98, 31a 

* First translated by Dr. Joyce ut sup, pp. 223, xv. 
» IHd. p 247 ; Rhys'* ffi^' ^^^ i8«. 

* Loth's MabiHogion. ii, 10, etc. 

Digitized by 


»7a The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

wells have near them an old oak, or an upright unhewn stone, 
round which (here he quotes Charles ©'Conor's third letter signed 
" Columbanus ") the devotees go on their knees three, six, or nine 
times.^ Petrie (p. 115), endorsing Dr. O'Conor's view, stated that 
" to this day the word used for a .pilgrimage by the common 
Irish is ailithre ... a word composed of ail a great upright 
rock or stone, and itriallam, correctly triallaim^ to go round." But 
surely, on the analogy of. the Latin, -ithre is cognate to iter (from 
ire) a journey ? 

Dr. Joyce* says that ail = stone, and Mr. E. R. Wharton* puts ail and 
Lithuanian ula rock with \aas stone. There is also aill (= feill) rock cliff 
precipice. From ail came aileach a round stone fortress, the name of the 
stronghold of the Northern HyNeill on a hill four miles from Derry (see 
Ordnance memoir of Templemore parish). It is still called Greenan-Ely 
(=grianan-ailigh, stone-palace), and has three concentric ramparts encircling 
a round cashel of cyclopean masonry. 

Merlin, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth,^ transported by 
magic the pillar-stones of the choir (coirthe ?) of Giants — chorea 
gigantum — which stood on the " Killaraus Mons " in Ireland, and 
set them up in the same order at Stanheng, Stonehenge. Now 
Giraldus Cambrensis* says of Meath, the fifth the central province 
of Ireland, that the Castrum Nasense (of Naas), a mass of pro- 
digious stones, was called the chorea gigantum, and that the stones 
had been brought by the giants from the ends of Africa ; and 
that the Castrum of Kilair* was called the stone and umbilicus of 
Hibemia, as if placed in the midst and middle of the land, medio 
et meditullio. (To this I return under the head of " The Navel") 

The gorsedh or court under the authority of which an Eisted- 
hvod is still held takes place in the open air, a circle of stones 
being formed, with a bigger stone in the middle ; and a druid still 

The Kilair stone above mentioned was very big, and was 
cursed by St. Patrick.*^ At Mag Slecht was the chief idol of 
Ireland, called Cenn Cruaich (Moundchief), covered with gold and 
silver, and twelve other idols about it covered with brass. St 

• Poesies dts Bardes^ Paris, 1853, pp. 91, 92. 

^ Irish NameSf ist series, 4th ed. pp. 292, 409 ; 2nd series, p. 2. * Etyma Graccu 

• Hist, viii, 9 to 12 ; iv, 4. 

• Topog, Hibem, ii, 18 ; iii, 4. 

^ San-Marte's Nennius, p. 361, and Camden. Loth's Mabinog, ii, 297. 
7 Rhjs's ffib, Lects, 192, 200, 208. 

Digitized by 


MytksJ] The Round Towers of Ireland. «73 

Patrick shook his crozier (see Lituus) at them, and the main idol 
"bowed westwards to turn on its right side, for its face ^^s front 
the South " [that is, to the North ?] " to wit, to Tara." The other 
twelve were swallowed-up by the earth to their heads. These 
must also have been stones, and perhaps the most important of 
such stones generally were so ornamented and enriched ; as were 
the Baitulia, which were dressed-up, like many human idols of the 
gods, with clothes and ornaments which varied with the feasts,* as 
altar-vestments do to this day. Damascius* mentioned the 
baitulos enveloped in its veils. A coin of Uranius Antoninus 
shows the Emessa stone of Elagabalus covered with an enriched 
envelope, of metal apparently, and topped by a pointed crown 
with a sort of curtain or mantle of stuff round about Coins 
which give the manapsa or stone of Artemis at Perg^ in Pamphylia 
evidently figure a metal bell-like cover. We see similar metal 
coverings, showing only the face and hands, on Russian and Greek 
church-pictures to this day. 

The rock or pillar-stone of Cndmchoill (Cleghile) near Tipperary 
was a fragment of the Wheel by means of which Simon Drui 
sailed in the air. Mog Ruith and his daughter, a great Druid and 
Druidess of Valencia, Were pupils of Simon Drui, and the daughter 
brought this fragment to Ireland. This strange and striking 
junction of the Pillar and the Wheel is of firstrate significance in 
this Inquiry, It is fully dealt-with under the heading of " The 
Wheel" in Vol. II. There also the Welsh goddess ArianRhod, 
Bright-wheel, is treated of. 

In a legend in the Book of Leinster {Mhca Ulad) Trisgatal the 
strong man of Ulster, that is the extreme North, pulls out of the 
ground the pillar-stone which all the clanna Degad gannot move.* 
Here we obviously have a doublet of Arthur*s magic sword, and 
both are symbols of the axis. 

Petrie admitted indeed,* in the case of the pillar-stone of 
Kilmalkedar, that it 
may have been originally a pagan monument, consecrated to the service of 

Christianity by inscribing on it . . . the nam6 of the Lord It 

was not unusual for the Irish apostle thus to dedicate pagan monuments to the 
honour of the true god. 

This admission howeVer scarcely contains a concession of the 
argument I am here seeking to develop. 

' Rev, numismat, 1843, P- 270, etc. (Ch. Lcnormant). * Bekker's ed. p. 348. 
» Folk and Hero Tales of Argyllshire^ 1890, 446. * Ut supra^ p. 132. 


Digitized by 


274 The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

The Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland visited in 1890 
Glencolumbkille in Donegal, where they found " some forty stones 
scattered up and down the valley, which are penitential * stations ' 
to this day. Some of the pillar-stones are finely carved with 
figures and the usual interlaced Irish patterns. On the slope of 
Glen Head, which rises perpendicularly from the sea to a height of 
800 feet, is a holy well with a cairn of stones left by devotees, and 
some ruins with a large stone called St. Columb's Bed. This is 
kissed as a cure for all kinds of diseases, and is the last spot visited 
in the penance."^ The words penance and penitential are some- 
what inaccurate here, I fancy. 

I must insert here the Pelvan or Pierre lev^e, which Littr^ described as 
une "pierre longiie dress^e perpendiculairement en forme de pilier (Basbreton 
peulvan— ^^«^/ pilier, man figure). I find the term " Pierres fites ou levies " in 
the Hist Utt de la France commenced by the Benedictines (xx, 623). Fites = 
fi'^tes fixtes ? _____ 

Upon the general subject of stone-worship, the Reader must 
be requested to refer back to the Section which deals with B^th- 
fels and to the Index. Here can be set down only a few facts 
which seem to connect themselves more closely, from the historical 
p(»int of view, with stone-worship in Ireland. 

There still remain certain Irish pillar-stones with circular 
artificial holes, through which (whether originally so or not) faith 
was in later times plighted between persons who grasped hands 
through the opening. This " hand-fasting " through a pillar was 
known in Orkney as a "promise to Odinn," so late as 1781.* 

In the 7th century St. Eloi forbad Christians to pray at pagan shrines 
(fana) or stones or wells or trees.* 

In the 8th century Charlemagne and the Councils had to fulminate against 
the worship of stones wells and trees, and the Saxons still worshipped wells 
and trees in the 13th century. The Council of Leptine (743) forbad oblations to 
be made on stones called fanes of Jupiter and Mercurius ; and the Councils of 
Aries, Tours, and many synods, and the capitulary of Aix-la-Chapelle in 789, 
renewed these prohibitions.* Up to this present century there were stones on 
the banks of the Lot which the French peasants oiled and decked with flowers, 
believing that if they could do so undetected they would be cured of or pre- 
served from the fever.* The bishop of Cahors had one of the stones 
destroyed (see also p. 126 sufira), 

* Atkemtumf 20th Sept. 1890, p. 393. 

* W. G. Wood-Martin's Rude Stone Monuments of Ireland, 1888. 
' De Baecker Relig, Nord France, 301, 316, 317. 

* Capitular Caroli Mag, i, 150, and Du Cange. 

* C. Coture : Hist, du Qttercy, i, 5. 

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MythsJ] The Round Towers of Ireland. 275 

Seidell's De Dts Syris^ (which Prof. W. Robertson Smith* says is by no 
means superseded by the Phenizier of Movers) cites Rabbi Nathan as 
mentioning the fani Merkolis or fanes of Mercurius which were simply three 
stones placed, unus hinc, alter illinc, tertius super utrumque — dolmens in fact 
(see p. 254), as we now catalogue them. Another rabbi, cited by Drusius, called 
them simply Mercurii. Prof W. Robertson Smith* has also pointed out bow, 
before the time of Mohanmied, the greater gods of the Arabs had to a large 
extent become anthropomorphic, or were represented at their sanctuaries (if 
not worshipped as images of human form) by a simple pillar, or by an altar, 
of stone ; sometimes by a sacred tree. My suggestion would be that these 
Arabian pillar-stones were originally erected to the supreme heavens-deity 
alone ; but all the leading gods were central, and they all subdivide in time, 
to meet the subdivision of their worshippers. There is a sufficiently remark- 
able connexion between this Arabian record and that which has already been 
adduced (p. 271) as to Cormac the grandson of Conn forswearing the worship 
of stones and trees ; and it even renders the theory of a Phoenician connexion 
with the Irish pillar-stones some whit less unlikely. 

Sq far as to the Irish pillar-stqnes ; but the attentive Reader 
will have already detected in the Section dealing with "The 
Pillar " (pp. 204 to 207) that it is almost in^possible to draw a hard 
and fast line of demarcation between the sacred pillar and the 
sacred tower. The solid pillar becomes hollow, the hollow pillar 
becomes a chambered. pillar; and that again differentiates into the 
tower. I shall even submit that the Irish Round Tower, as so 
fully and minutely described and depicted by Petrie's master hand, 
would ip any attempt at a-rigidly scientific classification naturally 
fall nearer to a category of chambered pillars than to one of 
towers, as we ^now employ the latter word. This is amply clear 
from their high-yp door, which was to hinder rather than to afford 
access ; their ^interior exiguity ; and the doubt, in most if not in all 
cases, as to how their stories, floors, and stairs were adjusted. 

The height of the doors above the ground outside is generally 13 ft., though 
the door at Scattpry-is on the ground. At Lusk the doorway is 4 ft. ; and in 
others 8, n, and 13 ft. above the exterior level.* 

Attention must again be drawn to the minar at Gaur (p. 207 
supra) of which Tergusson said it looked " more like an Irish 
round-tower than any other example known " ; and that also has the 
elevated doorway. One other close parallel can be added from 
Petrie himself (p. 29). which does more than suggest a connexion 
between the pillar-tower, the pillar-stone, and the worship. Lord 

* C. Coture : Hist, du Quercy, ii, cap. 15. * Relig, of Semites (1889), pp. ix, 437. 
» Kinship and Marriage y 207. * Lord Dunraven's -A^<7/^, ii, 23, 150. 

S 2 

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The Night of the Gods, 


Valentia, in his " Travels in the East Indies," described the two 
round towers one mile North-west of Bhaugulpoor. He was 
much pleased at sighting them, as they resembled the towers of 
Ireland ; but they are a little more ornamented, the door about the 
same height from the ground. There was no tradition concerning 
them, but the Rajah of Jyenegar considered them holy, and had 
built a small shelter for the great number of his subjects who 
s^nnually came to worship there. The early Christians can scarcely 
have had aught to do with these particular Indian pillar-towers, 
which are those near Bhagalpur that the Jains still frequent for 
pilgrimage and worship. Indeed Petrie wrote^ : " I am far from 
wishing to deny that a remarkable conformity is to be found 
between many of the Round Towers, whether Christian or 
Mahomedan, noticed by travellers, and our Irish towers." 

On the lower or square part of the stambhas or solitary pillars of the 
Jains of southern India, says Fer^sson,* as well as on the pillars inside the 
temples at Moodbidri and elsewhere in Canara, we find " that curious interlaced 
basket-pattern which is so familisur to us from Irish manuscripts or the orna- 
ments of Irish crosses. It is equally common in Armenia, and can be traced 
up the valley of the Danube into central Europe." Of course this last bit is 
only one of Fergusson's " views," and need not be conceded more than its due 
modicum of weight. 

To sho\y (see p. 263) how the Moslems sometimes add the 
round minaret, here is a rough sketch of one 
at the Haidar Pasha mosque in Nicosia 
(St. Katherine's church) ; and another very 
strange example of a ruined minaret on a 
ruined church-steeple, 
a fine specimen of a 
campanile, at Jaitzc 
in Bosnia* *' The cir- 
cular plan W4S much 


i Ut supra^ p. 30. * Indian Arch, p. 277. 

• I. de Asb6th's Bosnia and Herugovina^ 1890, p. 421. 

•VH^ ydLynjL 

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Myths ^ The Round Towers of Ireland. 277 

used by Moslem races for their minarets," says the Encyclopedia 

" Round towers wider and lowe^ than the Irish appear to have 
been built by many prehistoric races in different parts of Europe. 
Many examples exist in Scotland, and in the islands of Corsica 
and Sardinia. They are called brochs in Scotland, and seeto to be 
the work of a pre-Christian Celtic race."^ 

The church of Bramfield in Suffolk has a detached round- 
tower which stands some distance away from the church.* There 
are many round-towered churches in this quarter of England, as 
for example at Mettingham, Haddiscoe, Watton, Fritton, and near 
Cromer (Norfolk), and Bungay (Suffolk). The country-people 
have a tale that these round-towers wesre the casings of wells 
before the deluge, which succeeded in washing the land away, 
leaving the circular stone-work standing.* But this is too obviously 
not a legend but a tough "^ell,^' of the "tiling to make a fool ask " 
description. The Encyclopedia Britannica^ briefly asserts that these 
round towers, which are at the West end of churches in Norfolk 
Suffolk and Es^ex, are " Norman " ; which does not help us too 
much. All the Irish round-towers stand a little to the N. or N. W. 
(points not accurately stated or ascertained) of the churches near 

The round Towers covered with a dome, which exist in the 
island of Sardinia (see p. 284) are also attributed to an unknown 
archaic race, says Colonel Hermant of the French Artillery, who 
seeitis to have fencduritered a somewhat similar tower in Algeria 
(dans le Sud Oranais), terminating fn a rounded and massive 
capping: (coiffi^e d'une calotte arrondie ^t massive).® 

Lord Duriraveri' gives authentic particulars and sketches of a 
great number — ^some two-and-twenty — continental round towers, 

* EncycL Brit,, citing Andfersbn's Scotland in Pagan Times (1883) and Seotland in 
Early Times (\^i), 

* J. J. Hissey's Tour in a Phaeton^ 1889, p. 152. 

' /^. 153, i75» »77, i«5, 189, 225. 271. 

* xxi, 22 (9th ed.) 

* Lord Dunraven*s Notes^ ii, 23, 152, 154. 

* Academic des Sciences, 8th Dec. 1889. 
7 Notes, ii, 148, 156, 162. 

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278 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

none of which however has any exact typical resemblance to the 
Irish towers, except in a common roundness, and in the conical 
tops of some ; and both those facts are of leading symbolic im- 

The divine companions of the great Mexican deity Quctzalcoatl 
raised mounds or pyramids of stones and bricks, and they gave 
their pillars the form of serpents, not an infrequent Irish middle- 
age ornamentation. Quetzalcoatl himself invented (that is, of 
course, created) the tower absolutely round and without angles, 
which, says M. Eugene Beauvois, *' has such a curious parallel in 
gaelic lands."* 

Round towers some 33 feet high, and half that diameter, 
have just been discovered by Mr. J. Theodore Bent at Zimbabwl 
in MAshona-land. This is where he found the soapstone poles or 
pillars, with the birds on top. (See " Divine Birds " in Vol. II, and 
Proceedings of the Geographical and Anthropological Societies, 
May 1892.) 

Petrie says* that the Irish rbuhti toW^ers " are finished at the top 
with a conical roof of stone which frequently, as there is evefy 
reason to believe, terminated with a cross formed of a single 
stone." It does not appear that he adduced one single reason for 
this belief. If he has, the passage has escaped my very careful 
reading. One might with equal apparent probability suggest that 
the roof was terminated with " a round ball stuck on a spike " like 
those " buildings of the PoUygars of the Circars of India " men- 
tioned in Pennant's View of Hindoostan (ii, 123), which buildings 
are " of a cylindrical or round-tower shape, with their tops pointed 
at the summit. One is inclined to claim as Cosmic this ball on a 
spike, that is the sphere transpierced by its axis ; and much will be 
said later on (see Index) as to the important symbolism of this 
conical roof-cap. (See also what is said of the Egyptian benben 
at p. 199 supra, and of the phalae at p. 240.) 

With reference to this " ball on a spike," the wooden " rattles " used by 
" sorcerers," that is I presume priests, in British Guiana, are still of such a 

' VElysie des Mexicaim in Rev. de THist, des Relig. x, 289, 295. 
« Ut supra, p. 356. 

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Myths ^ The Round Towers of Ireland. 279 

form, as may be seen from the specimens in the Museum of St. 
Augustine's College at Canterbury (8th July 1890). The whole 
sacred symbol is two feet high, and. stands on a round base. The 
hollow ball is of thin wood, and about eight inches in diameter, with 
two slits in it like those on the front of a fiddle. Is not this a sort 
of bull-roarer ? See also what is said as to the Japanese nu-hoko on | 
p. 67. 

Lord Dunraven' gave some particulars of the capstones of the 
Round-tower roofs. At Antrim " a portion of the original stone 
which crowned the conical top is still preser\'cd There is a square 
hole in the centre, into which a small wedge-shaped stone fitted " (" probably 
a cross " is added, but why ?). At Ardmore : " Last year (? date) the capstone 
fell down, and only half of it is now preserved. It is about 2 ft high and is 
semi-circular, i ft 8 in. in diameter ; the other half must have been split off. " 
[This is somewhat vague.] Elsewhere it is stated that Professor Willis' "alludes 
to a floral ornament in the plan [on parchment, of the towers of St. Gall near 
Lake Constance] which is also often seen in MSS. of the 9t]i century, and 
which Lord Dunraven suggests may indicate the ornamental finial of the 
conical roof." I can only presume that the fleur-de-lis is here meant. 

That pre-Christian sacred, as wdl as domestic and other, 
buildings might have been round as well as of any other shape is so 
self-evident, in the nature of things, as almost to go without 
telling ; but here are some leading instances of the fact. 

" The houses of the ancient Irish were circular, and generally 
made of wood."* 

The late Laurence Oliphant,* writing from Taganrog in 1852, 
describes the round houses of the Don Cossacks as being " like 
the haystacks with which they were always surrounded, and from 
which you could scarcely distinguish them." 

The most usual, if not the most ancient form of the European 
hut, says Dr. O. Schrader, was circular. If this is correct we shall 
not go far wrong in regarding it as an imitation of the felt-covered 
circular tent of the nomad. The Teutonic huts on the triumphal 
column of Marcus Aurelius are round. So too did Strabo describe 
the dwelling of the Belgae as a 6oKoeihr\^, Helbig has shown the 
primitive form of the Italian hut to have been round. The ash- 
urns from the necropolis of Alba Longa were obviously intended 

' Notes on Irish Arch, ii, I, 39, 157. 

• Archaoiog, Journal J v, 85. 

' Dr. Joyce's Celiie Romances^ 191. 

* Mrs. M. O. W. Oliphant's Life of him, i, 96. 

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sSo The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

to represent the then round huts of the living. [See an illus- 
tration in Canon Isaac Taylor's Origin of the Aryans ^ p. 176 ; but 
such huts were square too, see the drawing of one found near 
Chiusi in Daremberg and Saglio's Dictionnaire, i, 984. I. O'N.] 
The pre-historic dome-shaped graves of Mycenae, Menidi, and 
Orchomenus were but reproductions of human dwellings. 
[The Chinese idea of the roundness of heaven, and the Greek 
and Roman round temples are here out of sight. I. O'N.] Dr. 
Schrader then compares the Latin fala, a wooden tower or struc- 
ture, with the Greek d6\o(;, meaning both circular structure and 
dome-shaped roof or round temple.* Lisch says the circular was 
the original form of the German urns also ; and F. S. Hartmann 
says the funnel-pit dwellings of Southern Bavaria as a rule exhibit 
a circular form.* 

To this I shall add that the priniitiVe circular Greek houses 
had, according to Winckler,* the hearth at the cetitte, the smoke 
going out at the top of the conical roof Every Greek city had 
its prytaneum, in rotunda or ^0X09 form, sacred to Hestia. The 
holy hearth or fire-focus of the city was immediately under the 
summit of the vault, just as the hearth at Delphi, the central fire 
common to all the Hellenes, was (soi-disant) right beneath the 
summit of the celestial vault. This Delphin sanctuary, the navel 
of the earth, the 6^<f>aXo^ 7%, had the oniphalos-stone close beside 
this hearth-altar and sacred fire of Hestia, the goddess who per- 
sonified the stability of the Earth.* The Roman Vesta, who 
paralleled the Grecian Hestia, likewise had rotunda-temples with 
hemispherical roofs. 

Numa Pompilius, said Festus {s, v. Rotunda), seems to have consecrated 
to Vesta a round temple (rotundam or rutundam tedem), because she was the 
same as the Earth, and so he gave her a temple in the form of a pila. But 
we must not forget that Stata Mater was another name for Vesta ; who in 
that case may be VeSta, and another deity to add to the rest in Ve-. As to 
these I state elsewhere a suspected connexion with the root of veho to drive, 
and with the town of Veji or of the Veji, for it is hard to accept Ovid's Vejovis 
{Fast, iii, 447) for "little Jupiter." 

It is such facts as these that throw the proper light upon the 
confused supposition of Anaxagoras (elsewhere mentioned) that 

' Guhl and Koner, p. 48. 

* Jevons's Schrader's PrehisU Aryan ArUiq, (1890) 342, 345, 364 to 366. 

' Wohnhduscr der HtUenen (1868) pp. 123 to 132. 

^ Th. H. Martin : Mythe de Hestia (M^m. Acad. Inscr. xxviii.) 

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The Round Towers of Ireland, 


primitively the pole coincided with the zenith. A supposition 
which was agreed in by others of the Ionian school — Arch^laus, 
Diogenes of ApoUonia, Empedocl^s and Democritus.^ One of the 
two most archaic temples discovered by Conze, Deville, and 
Coquart at Samothrace, the sanctuary of Kabeirian worship, was 
round in form, and covered-in like an odeum (^Setoi/, Od^on).* 

> Stobaeus EcU Ph. i, 16 (pp. 356 to 358, Huren). 
* F. Lenonnant in Saglio*s Diet, i, 765. 


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The Night of the Gods. 


23. — Some other Towers. 

HERE are now recorded some notes and observations upon a 
variety of Towers which are not round, but which seem to 
belong to the same symbolism. The square form accords with the 
Chinese conception of the earth-symbol as square (the heavens- 
symbol being round) ; and it also figures forth the sacred number 
Four of the cardinal points, fully treated of above, p. 157. 

At Kuicu-Hote, or Blue Town in Manchuria Huc^ mentioned 
a large Lamasery called, in common with a more celebrated one in 
the province of Shan-si, the Lamasery of the Five Towers, from 
its handsome square tower with five turrets ; one very lofty in the 
centre, and four smaller at the angles. 

At Tali and Tali-fu in Yunnan, Mr. A. R. Colquhoun* mentions 

and depicts some " Mahomedan 
pagodas or minarets." That num- 
bered 4 reminds one somewhat of 
the Egyptian tat(see supra). That 
they are pillar-like tower struc- 
tures, with an archaic religious 
and mystic signification now lost, 
^seems to be the conclusion. The 
mythological nightmarist might 
perhaps see in them some parcel 
of gigantic glorified glow-worms. 
The existence of the Chinese Wei-Kan in the same country (see 
p. 193 supra) seems to exhibit to us the same original idea 
descending through two different channels, and so evolving side 
by side (whether due to migration or not) very different forms 
of the same central pillar-symbol, which are both still produced 
to this day. It was in this country too that the Mahomedan 
rebels were put down and massacred. The aboriginal {}) Heh 
Miao tribe of this part of S. W. China "stick-in a bamboo-pole 
at the graves, with silk threads of the five colours."^ 

The staged towers (zikkurat) of Chaldea and Assyria seem to 

> Travels, i, 1 10. * Across Chrysf, ii, 246, 253. 

3 Ibid, ii, 372. 

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Some other Towers. 



have given the model for the atesh-gahs 
or fire-towers of the Persians. That at 
Jur near Firuzabad is 91 feet high and 
has been "restored" by M. Dieulafoy.^ 
The minaret of the mosque of Ibn TOlCin, 
one of the oldest Mussulman edifices, is 
said to resemble it. 

Dr. E. G. King, D.D.,» says "the 
topmost stage in the Babylonian zig- 
gurats or temples denoted the pillar 
round which the highest heaven or 
sphere of the fixed stars revolved."* 
If so, it clearly represented the North * 
polar celestial region. (Refer again to 
the Tower at Jaitze in Bosnia p. 276.) 

In the Persian Rauzat-us-Safa (p. 141) Nimrud, obstinate in 
his purpose of ascending to heaven, spent many years in erecting 
a Tower which Was so high that the bird of imagination could not 
reach its summit. (Remember that it is the exaggeration here 
that falls short of the mythit reality.) Fara'iin (Pharaoh) also 
wanted to go up to heaven and learn about the God of M{isa, and 
to fight him ; and he commanded Hftm&n to erect him a lofty 
castle, so lofty that its builditig took all the time of the 9 signs, 
and anyone wishing to reach its summit had to climb for a whole 
year. (Ibid, p. 333v) 

One is inclined to suggest that the marvellous Tower in the 
Shi Kingf built with a rapidity as if it had been the work of spirits 
(as Chu Hi said), and proper for astrological observations and for 
the searching^out of divination ometts^ should find its proper place 
among the mythic cosmic towers. 

In France, the " Pile de Saint-Marc '^ or Cinq Mars, where the 
Cher joins the Loire, is built of bricks and is in plan a square of 
\2\ feet to the side, its height being 86 J feet, as described long ago 
by La Sauvag^re {A^Hquitis), 

That we have here the god Mars (or his Gaulish double) seems probable 
enough ; and his mantle descended to his namesake St. Martin (Mars, Martis), 
as maybe seen especially from the legend in the 12th-century chronicle of Jean 
de J/rtrmoutier (near neighbouring Tours) which says that Caesar built a tower 
upon the rock of neighbouring Amboise, with a great statue of Mars on its 

* VArt Antique de la Perse, iv, 79. * Akkadian Genesis (1888) p. 24. 

» See also The Story of the Nations {Chaldea) pp. 153, 276. < Legge's, 1871, p. 456. 

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2^4 The Night of tJie Gods, {Axis 

summit, which statue fell in a miraculous storm raised by the iconoclast 
St. Martin to abolish the emblems of paganism. Les dieux se suivent et se 
ressemblent. The Mar in Marmoutier (moutier = monasterium) is said to be 
Maius, but is nearer Mars. The village was once known as Saint-Maars 
(which confirms what I have just stated), and also Saint-Mddard-la-Pile, which 
gives us a central divine name, like unto all others in Me-, see pp. 143 seq. 

Near Sablenceaux is a similar construction called la Pile- 
Longue or Pirelonge, built of rubble stone in a hard cement, 18 feet 
square and 74 feet high. There is said to have been another near 
the confluence of the Creu2e and Vienne rivers, at a place called 

A curious name belongs to the 291 feet high tower of the 
church at Boston in Lincolnshire, built in 1309. It is called 
" Boston Stump," and is visible 40 miles off. (We all know too 
that another Boston is the hub of the Universe !) 

As to the nuraghs or round-towers of Sardinia (see p. 277), 
Perrot and Chipiez say in UHistoire de CArt that they still exist 
in very great numbers — more than 3000 — all over the island. 
Their commonest form is a circular chamber, on the ground, 
covered with a conical vault, corbelled not arched, like the beehive 
tombs of Mycenae and Orchomenos. Some are more complicated, 
fusing 3 or more single towers into one colossal mass. The con- 
clusion now favoured is that they were strongholds against invaders 
and pirates. Their dates and builders are unknown, but the 
vaulting may be Phoenician. (Does nuragh belong to ndr, fire ? see 
p. 208 supra.) 

The celebrated Octagonal Tower of the Eight Winds at Athens 
has already been often mentioned (pp. 167, 193 and 244). It was 
crowned by a trident-god or Triton who acted as a weather-cock. 
Spon identified this famous tower with the horologium or dial 
described by Vitruvius (i, 6, 4). There was a water-clock within 
it, and it also served as a dial, for horary lines are still traceable 
below the figure of a wind on each face. When Stuart visited the 
tower in the last century, and still at the time of Cell's tour, it was 
used as a chapel for dancing (that is rotating, spinning) dervishes.* 
To those who follow the theories here broached, it will not seem 
strange, but accordant, that the connexion of this tower with the 
rotating Universe should thus have been perpetuated. It was 
dedicated, as the architrave-inscription still testifies, to Athend 

* Harrison and VerraH's Ancient Athens^ p. 203. 

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MytksJ] Some other Towers. 285 

Arch^etis. Now apj^-7jyiT7j<;, apx-ayiTq^, d/>;^-i77€Tt9 combine 
the two central divine terms apx and ay (ayo) go, lead ; Sanskrit aj 
drive) ; and 'Apx^y^'^^ ^^^^ meant the Supreme goer, leader or 
impeller of the Universe. The same adjectival title was also given 
to the great central gods Apollo and Askl^pios. 

The turretted head of Cybel^ may owe its symbo- 
lism to the cosmic tower and heavens-palace, or " city <^f R fl |\ 
the new Jerusalem." Compare the Egyptian present- 5:1 CI Cl 
ments of Neith, Isis, and Nephthys. 

The tower in which Dana^ was shut- up, the golden shower as 
which Zeus ( = Zan = Dan) descended, the resultant heavens-god 
Perseus, and the chest in which Ae was shut-up (see ** The Arcana ") 
are all central and celestial. Remember too that if Zan = Dan 
was Zeus, Zand (=Dan6) wbls the Doric (and Cretan ?) H^re. And 
I here insert an important addition to th^ Section on " The god 
Picus " supra, which is taken from John of Antioch, who not alone 
said repeatedly that Picus was the sanie as Zeus — IIa/co? 6 Kai Zei)? / 
but that some said he was the father of Perseus : koX h-epos vio^ 
ToO Yiucov At09 CLTTO Aavdr}<; yevofievo^ qvofuari Ilepaeif^} 

In Dr. Schliemanp's Report on excavations at "Troy" in 1890,* is men- 
tioned a whorl with an inscription found in the sixth " Trojan " settlement 
Prof. Sayce gives the inscription which is in the Cypriot syllabary, as JJa-ro-pi 
Tv'pi which, on the supposition that it is Phrygian, would be "to Father 

The fragments of Philo's version of Sanchoniathon, as presented 
by Eusebius,* have preserved to us a perhaps stupendously old 
instance of the cosmic Tower^myth. The passage is that Hyps- 
Ouranios (that is the god of the highest heavens) was said to 
have set up his home at Turos, that is at Tyre. EZra (fyrjai rov 
'TyfrOvpdviov oUrjaai Tvpov, which was put into Latin by K. O. 
Miiller as Jam vero Hyps Uranium in insula Tyro domicilium suum 
collocasse, which would give us a very ancient view indeed of Tory- 
island (see p. 267 supra), (Of course there was a Tyre on the 
island, now Sour ( = tsur ?) but the old Tyre, 7ra\a^ Tu/oo?, seems to 
have been on the maiqland.) If this be the true etymology of Tyre, 
it disposes of all the words in tyr- or rvp- as having a tower sense. 
The Hebrew name of Tyre was "^iS- The bull that bore Europa 

* Didot's Frc^, Hist. Grac, iv, 542, 544. 

* Published posthumously by Brockhaus, Leipzig. 

* Prep, Ev, i, cap. 10. Didot's Frag. Hist. Grijsc. iii» 566. 

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286 The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

was called Tyrian. The Thebans were poetically, that is archaically, 
called Tyrians, and I shall endeavour later to show that Thebes 
was the heavens-city df the gods, the theoi. 

Again we may have the tower-axis god in Turrenus or 
Turrhenus who was the dux (drawer or leader) of the Lydians (see 
also pp. 143, 146). So said Festus under the word Turrani, which 
he cited from Verrius as an ordinary appellation for the Etruscans. 
Note, by the way, that we are here working out a very supreme 
divine right indeed for the tyrant, tyrannus, or rvpawo^. 

An Etruscan mirror* shows a scene which is called " Castor and Pollux 
with Minerva and Venus ; " but the names over the heads are Laran, Aplu, 
Menfra and 7«ran. In this last name of the Etruscan Venus (according to 
F. Lenormant*) are we not to see a Tower goddess ? Another mirror shows 
Casutru, Pulutuke, Chaluchasu (Menfra), and Turan. Another gives Turms or 
Turmus- (Mercurius ?) Laran, Menfra, and Turan. Another, Menfra and 
Turan.» (See also Tur6, p. 136 supra,) 

A curious and pretty, though very ordinary, religious toy may be had in 
certain devotional bookshops. It consists of an ornamented double hollow 
turret or cylinder of ivory which, when turned roupd ?uq?illy, opens and dis- 
closes a little statuette of the Virgin in (or as) the turris ebumea or turns 
Davidica of the Softg^ of Solomon and the Litanies.* 

Under the heading of the Number Twelve I have already 
mentioned the Frangrasyan o( the Avesta, the Afrftsyftb of Firdusi. 
He was King of TCirftn for 200 years, which (for me) at once gives 
a tower-axis clue, and a probable etyniology for Tiir-An as the 
kingdom of the Tower. 

Justi {Handb, der Zendspr.) deiivos tftra from'tamv, tarv = Sanskrit turv, 
ttirvati. I believe turns Tvp<ris has not been previously carried beyond the Greek. 
Now Airyu, T{ira, and Sairima were grandsons* of Yima the first 
man-j^od, thus : 


I ! I 

Titfra, Sairama or Selm, Airyu, King of 

King of T^rdn. King of Rflm. Airyana (Irin). 

The 2 mothers of the triad had been ravished by the demon-serpent Azhi 
Dahika, but were rescued by Thra^taona when he slew the monster. Again 

* Inghirami, Monumenii Eiruski, * In SagUo*s Diet, i, 771. 

* M. Maurice Albert, Casior et Pollux^ 1883, p. 134. 

* HUrolcxicon (Roma, 1677), p. 644. 

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MythsJ] Some other Towers. 287 

Irin V6j is the more archaic Airyana Va$j6 or Vaija, the first region created, 
near by the heavens-river Dditya.* Airyaman was an old I ndo- Iranian 
god, who is an dditya in the Rig Veda, and called Aryavsxacti, The meaning 
of both the resemblant words is in each speech the same : brightness, 
light* Airyaman's mansion (nminem) is the mansion of the sky, the bright 
dwelling in which, according to the Vedas, Mitra Aryaman and Varuna abide. 
In later Parsiism Airyaman is the ized of the heavens. Here is one of my 
reasons (see p. 24) for making the original Aryans the bright star-gods of the 
heavens. In another, a parallel direction, it is not at all impossible (I venture 
to Submit) that we have here too our own English word air (a^p, aer). Mt. 
Kaoirisa or K6fris in trin-Vej,* then becomes the hollow (jcoiXor, root ku) 
mountain of the heavens, in space. 

But I want to deal with T{ira, the King of TCir^n. The mythic 
source of the even prehistoric enmity of Irftn and TOrAn would be 
a war-in-heaven (of which so many are seen in the course of this 
Inquiry) between the (tower) axis-gods and the heavens-gods at 
large. And it is very notable that although the Turanians, the 
sons of Tiira, are to be smitten in myriads of myriads in the 
Avesta^ certain of them are to be worshipped, such as Arejangand 
and Frftrftzi and their holy men and women.* Thus they (or their 
fravashis, their spirits) were gods. The Dtn&t Matndgt Khiradh^ 
preserves the legend that this enmity was caused through the 
killing of Airyu (Atrich) by his two brothers. This is supposed 
to have been also related in a lost Nask of the A vesta. AfrAsyib 
the tower-god (as I say) was, after 12 years' dominion, beaten, 
and took refuge in a cave on the top of a mountain (in the 
Skdh Ndmek) ; but in a more archaic form of the legend the cave 
was an underground palace, the height of looo men, with walls 
of iron and 100 columns. This is clearly one of the many 
variants of the Southern infernal Labyrinth (see that heading), and 
Afr^syib was simply damned ito hell as a fallen god. 

Since the above -was worked-out, I find that M. Jean Fleury, reader at the 
St Petersburg University, considers the Russian popular god Tur to be " no 
other than Perun, under a name brought probably by the Turanians."^ But of 
course the word perun has no etymological resemblance whatever with tur. If 
these theoncsofmine turn out worth the trouble of publishing, Tur will be a 
tower-god, and Perun (see pp. 194, 198 sufird) a pillar-^/^?«^ (pierre) god. 

* Darmesteter*s Z, A, i, 2, 5, 229. 
« Z. ^. H, 5589. 

* Ibid, ii, 67, 71, 189. 

* Ibid, ii, 212, 217, 226. 

* West's Pahl. Texts, iii, 52. 

* Congris des trad. pop. : Paris, 1 89 J, pp. 91, 96, 97 (received by me 7th Feb. 1892). 

Digitized by 




The Night of tfie Gods. 

\The exigencies of Space and Time — in which all things have their 
becomings or their non-becomings — have forced me to hold over , for 
the present, the Section on " The Tomoye."] 

$ f ^ t 

# ffi ^ ^ t 

J f^f 51 

Digitized by 



The Axis and the Universe-Tree. 

24. The Tree-trunk. 

25. The Christmas-tree. 

26. The myths of Daphn6 and AgLauros. 

27. The Gods of the Druids. 

24.— The Tree-trunk. 

Two stedfast Poles 
twixt which this All doth on the Ax-tree move. 

(Drayton, Barons^ IVarres^ vi, 5.) 

WE must now turn to the Axis as the trunk of the Universe- 
Tree ; the Axe-tree as we might call it, reviving an old 
English alias for axle-tree. 

The Vedic habitable Earth is Jambu-dwlpa, the island of the 
tree Jambu. Siva is the lord of the Jambu tree which is in the 
centre of the delightful plateau which in the pur^nas crowns the 
height of Mount Meru — the world-Tree which yielded the gods 
their soma, the drink of immortality. Its roots are in the under- 
world of Yama ; it is so high that it casts the shadow on the 
moon. Its tips ' are in the heaven of the gods, its trunk the 
sustaining Axis of the Universe. 

In another character it becomes the Avestan Harvisptokhm,^ 
the Tree of all seed ; and it is also the Hind{i Pftrijlta,* yielding 
all the objects of desire, which we have already seen (under the 
heading of "The Spear") chumed-up out of mid-Ocean. It is 
also the Tree of desires or of ages, the kalpa-druma, kalpa-taru, or 
kalpa-vrikshas of Hindii myth, of which there are four planted on 
the four buttresses of Mount Meru. Vriksha = tree in the 
Rig Veda. 

* Darmesteter*s Zend Av, i, Ixix, 72, 54, 59. 
' Rel, Life and Thought in India, i, 108, 332. 

Digitized by 


290 T!m Night of tJie Gods, [Axis 

Soma himself is Vishnu, says the Satapaika^rMmana^^ Soma was Vriira. 
In the RigVi'dti and its commentaries Cayatri, in the shape of a hawk, 
forcibly carries off the Soma from Swar^a, the paradise, the lordship, of Indra, 
and also the supreme station of Vishnu on the summit of Mount Meru,' But 
here soma must be a branch or portion of the heavenly tree ; and the hawk and 
soma are thus a dear parallel to the dove and olive-leaf of Genesis viii, j i. 
The Snktpaika-SrMmana^ presmbed the brown- flowering philguua plant as 
being akin to the sotna- plant ; in the absence of this the Syena-hrtra (falcon- 
rapt) plant, or the idSra, or the brown dQb* (ddrb a), or any kind of yellow kusa 
plants. But Dr. O, Schrader* pronounces that all the investigations of the 
original terrestriaJ soma-plant have failed to produce ariy tangible result. 
This soma is the Avestan haoma which, like the universe-mountain, 
becomes duplicated ■ for there is an earthly as well as a heavenly 
haoma; the celestial one growing-up in the actual middle of the 
sublime spring Ardvbtira in the sea of air Vurukasha, or the 
Airanya-vaeja^ the atmosphere, the ether (see p. 2^y\ 
Haug* says that there is an invocation in the Haoma yasht of the Avesta 
to the holy haoma-tree as the "imperishable Pillar of life, amarem gay^hd 
St una," The passage is not traced in Darmesteter^s version* 

MC^Xv the plant unknown to men, black at the root but wnth 
a milk-like flower, which Hermes plucks up for Odusseus (x, 505} 
IS clearly a type of the world-tree ; ^mkos being a pile raised in 
the sea* 

Prof. Sayce' has translated a bilingual hymn of Eridu about 
a dense tree growing in a holy place : 

Its fruits (or roots) of brilliant crystal extend to the liquid abyss, its place 
is the central spot of the earth, its foliage is a couch for the goddess Zikum. 
In the heart of this holy dwelling, which casts a shade like a forest into which 
no man has entered, resides the powerful Mother who passes athwart the 
heavens ; in the midst is Tammuz, 

And Tammuz = Attis, as to whom see the Pine legends, p. 29S 
infra (see also Attius Navius under " The Navel ''). 

On the Blacas vase we clearly have the Universe tree in the 
midst of the Cabiric gods. Its roots, said F, Lenormant,* grow 
down into the region of the hells, and its branches spread out in 
the upper region, where are the deities of the Cabiric mysteries. 

Not to turn aside just at this moment for other parallels to the 


^ Eggeling's, ii, 100, 126, 371, 

= Wilson's A't^Feda, 1, 33, 54^ 241, * Eggelmgs, li, 422. 

* Dub means both tree and oaktree in Russian, see Ralston 's able A'hss, F^^ik-iak^. 

* JevQns's Schrader's Pr^hisL Arjuu Anti^. {1S90) 3^6, ^ Essays, if 7. 

r A*el ofAn^t BabyL 1887, p. 2jS. F. Lenoriaaot. Grig, fU fkhL ii, I04. 1 
tiveiset from the French. ^ In Saglio's Dkt^ i, 766. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Tree-trunk. 291 

Norse mima-meither or to the Tree of the golden apples of im- 
mortality guarded by the goddess Idunn, or to the similar apple- 
tree of the garden of the Hesperides — there is the world-ash 
Ygg-drasil, the greatest and best of all trees, whose branches 
spread all over heaven, while its roots plunge down to hell. It 
was the Tree of Life, and the judgement-seat of the gods,^ whose 
chief abode and sanctuary, is at the Ash Ygg's stead (or standing 
place) where they hold their court every day. Three of its roots 
stretch across the heavens, and hold them up.* It is white, like 
the Avestan haoma — although the whiteness must rather mean 
brightness — and as Grimm pointed outfit is a near relation of the 
Irmensaiile, that highest universe-column sustaining all things : 
universalis columna quasi sustinens omnia, which is- so deeply- 
rooted an idea in German antiquity. 

The name of the Yggdrasill Ash (Norse : askr ygg-drasils) must I think 
mean powerful- whirler ; as thus : Ygg seems to be the root u^ t/Z^our, as in 
Latin vigeo thrive, vegeo arouse, augeo increase ;* Old Irish 6g entire* 
Lithuanian kugu grow, Greek vyirjs whole sound healthy, Sanskrit ugra very- 
strong, 6jas strength. I suppose the name Ugrian must be thus connected 
with Yggdrasill. It is odd that this etymology brings ygg and z/^?g^etable 

Drasill, drasi/s, seems to be Gothic thracils^ Scythian tracilusy Greek 
rp6xO<os ; next to which I set down rp6xos race racecourse, and rpox^s wheel 
hoop sphere, rpox*^ wheel-rut, and rpoxa^^s fleet, round, with rpoxa^la water- 
wheel roller windlass. It is customary to refer all these to Tp€xo> run, and to 
the root targA tragh to tug ; and Prof. Skeat suggested a Teutonic type 
thragila^ to take in both English thrall and OHG drigil a slave. But I venture 
to think that the root tharh tark^ to twist turn-round, must also be indicated. 
It would thus be possible, disregarding rpiircoy to include in the group not alone 
the w>4^/-meanings of the Greek words but the Latin torqueo turn, and the 
Sanskrit tarkus a spindle. 

If these etymologies will stand the strain, then Yggdrasill = force -f- 
circular-motion ; that is, the energy of Nature, the almighty power that seemed 
to turn the Universe and its typical Tree. This at once makes it a doublet of 
the Winged Oak of Zeus (p. 308 inftcC) ; and we also thus see why " Yggdrasill " 
is incomplete without the word " ash." We should say " the Yggdrasill Ash." 

I know the nine cycles of the world, says the Vala or priestess 
in the Volu-Spa, and the gigantic tree which is in the middle of the 

' Bergmann's Gyl/a Ginning^ 90, 212, 223. 

* Vigfusson and Powell's reconstructed VoltupA (in Corpus Poet, Bor, ii, 634). 
» Deutsche Myth. 759. 

* Mr. H. D. Darbishire points out that vyt^ff can be connected with vegeo or with 
augeo, but not with both. 

* E. R. Wharton, Etyma Latina. 

T 2 

Digitized by 


292 The Night of the Gods. \A:xds 

earth, the ash called Yggdrasill raising its head to the highest 

Adam of Bremen said in the nth century that the Saxons vene- 
rated in their Irminsul (as above) the image of "the universal column 
which sustains all things " •} Truncum quoque ligni non parvae 
magnitudinis in altum erectum sub dio locabant, patrid eum ling^^ 
Irminsul appellantes, quod Latinfe dicitur universalis coluntna 
sustinens omnia. It was thus a big wooden post set up in the 
open air. " As a cosmogonic column related to the Scandinavian 
Yggdrasill," writes M. Goblet d'AIviella,* " the Irminsul connects 
itself just as well with the tradition of the universal pillar as with 
that of the Tree of the world." But the axis idea seems never to 
have crossed M. Goblet's vision. He however approaches very 
near to the theory advocated in this Inquiry (without however 
coming into touch with it) when he says ** the Chaldeans must be 
included among the peoples who saw in the universe a tree having 
the heavens (le ciel) for top and the earth for base or trunk."* 
The trunk of course is the beam or shaft of the axis. And he adds 
that Mr. W. Mansell* has found gis^ tree, as a name for the 
heavens, on a tablet. Again M. Goblet says* "the idea of 
referring to the form of a tree the apparent structure of the 
universe is one of the most natural reasonings that can pre- 
sent themselves to the mind of savages." But here it is also 
manifest that the vegetating idea is alone present to the savant's 

The god Irmin or Hirmin of the Westphalian Saxons seems to have had a 
grand temple on the Eresberg, afterwards the Stadtberg. It was also called 
the Mersberg or Mons Martis, which indicates the usual confusion of the spear- 
gods of two races. The Irmin-sul or suul alias Hirmin-suul, Hermen-sul or 
£rmen-sul was his pillar at that spot, and the reading Hermen would seem to 
convey another confusion with another speargod, Hermes. Charlemagne in 772 
destroyed the " idol " on the Mons Martis, which he christianised. This idol 
seems to have been both a pillar and a statue placed on a pillar ; and the statue 
held in one hand a rod or standard tipped with a rose (wheel ?), and in the other 
a balance, which would indicate a god of Truth. On the breast was the figure of 
a bear. He was worshipped on horseback by the nobles, who rode several times 
round the statue {Noel), Adam of Bremen (i, 6) said (as above) that the statue was 
of wood (which would give it a tree-trunk and post origin) holding a flag-standard 

* Gesta Hammenhurgensis Ecclesiat pontificum^ Hamburg 1706, I, vi. 

* Mig, des SymboUSf 1 89 1, p. 144. ' Ibid, p. 187. 

* Gaz, Archiol, 1878, 134. * Mig, des Symboles, p. 208. 

Digitized by 


Afyths.'] The Tree-trunk. 293 

in the right hand and a lance in the left.* There is a confused German legend 
which makes the dead Armimus become the IrminsuX. Now one of the 
Argonauts (which see) was Armenios or Armenos, and he was a native of the 
Rose( wheel)- Land. See also the Roland-Saiilen at p. 332 infra. 

The parish of Preston, Gloucestershire, is bounded on the west by " the 
Irmin-street," a Roman way which passes through Cirencester. In the parish 
stands an ancient rude stone about four feet high called "the Hangman's stone." 
Rudder* suggested that this was a corruption of " Hereman-stone." I take this 
from Mr. E. S. Hartland's truly valuable County Folk-lore* I also find in Canon 
Isaac Taylor's " Words and Places " the form " Ermin Street." In the French 
department of the Oise is Ermenonville ; in the Puy-de-D6me is Herment ; in 
the ancient litus Saxonicum near Caen is Hermanville ; in Bohemia are Herman- 
stadt (or Hermanmiestetz or Hermanmiestee), Hermansdorf (or Hermsdorf), and 
Hermanstift (or Hermanseifen) ; and in Transylvania is another Hermannstadt. 
Perhaps our Norfolk parish of Irmingland should also be catalogued. 

[Here, as I have just had to mention stone monuments, I must be 
forgiven for inserting out of its place some further similar facts, which 
ought to have gone with the Perrons, p. 194 supra. In the high- 
way some 200 yards W. of the church of St. George's, Gloucester- 
shire "stood Don John's cross, which was a round freestone column 
supported by an octangular base." The " Dane John " at Canter- 
bury consists of a similar monument on a high mound. Near by 
is a public-house which still calls itself ** Don Jon House." It 
seems obvious that the real name of both the Kentish and the 
Gloucester survivals is Don (or Dan) Ion. Dan, Don, Dom, Hav 
(see p. 13s supra) Zan and Zeus (see p. 285) are of course all 
identical, and the lugging-in of " the Danes " used to be a too 
frequent relaxation for our local antiquarians in the past I shall 
add as to the Perron (see p. ig^supra)^ which the Canterbury Dan 
Ion monument closely enough resembles, that Perry Wood, near by 
where I write, still a place for frequent pleasure-pilgrimage, may 
have been first so-called from a monument to the god Perun. There 
are other places in England which contain the name Perry, but the 
list of such places in the American gazetteers is something quite 
astonishing in its length.] 

It is under the Willow that the Tioist saints obtain the elixir of immortality. 
In S. China where it is rare the fig takes its place. The pine (matsu) is a 
symbol of long-life in Japan. There is as much difference of opinion among 

' See Krantz Orig. Sax, ii, 9 ; Fabricius Orig. Sax. 6 ; J. Grimm, Detiisclie Myth, 
pp. 81, 209. 

* Hist. Gloucestersh. 1779, p. 606. » Folk-lore Society 1892, i, 51. 

Digitized by 


2 94 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

" sinologues " as to what is the Chinese divining-plant Shi as there is among our 
Western pundits about the sarcostemma-soma. Both are probably cases of the 
gold-silver shield over again ; the fabulous soma and shi being materially 
represented by differing substitutes in different places according to the exigencies 
of vegetation.* Look at the (now Christian) " palms " on Palm-Sunday. 

We can scarcely separate the whiteness of the haoma from the whiteness of 
the birch (German birke, Lithuanian berzas, Russian bereza, Old-Saxon br^za, 
Sanskrit bhiirja, Ossetic barse bars, Pamir dialects furz, bruj) to which Dr. O. 
Schrader* assigns the probable source of the Sanskrit bhrij, to shine. So that 
the shining white birch would be meant, which thrives only in N. latitudes. The 
Latin name betulahas a common origin with the Irish beithe and Welsh bedew. 

The Canoe (white) Birch, betula papyracea, is commonest in America above 
43° N. lat. The bark is almost indestructible, and, being therefore turned into 
the Red Indian's canoes, gives the tree its name ; the wood of the yellow birch, 
betula lutea, is well-fitted for the under-water hulls of ships. The bark is used 
as an impenetrable roof, under shingles which keep it down. The European 
white birch, betula alba, has its S. forest-hmit at 45" N. lat. Its bark slowly 
burnt in a furnace supplies the empyreumatic oil which gives the perfume to 
Russian leather and the stench to Russian ships. Its rich sugary plentiful spring 
sap makes a beer, a wine, and a vinegar. The leaves of the black birch, betula 
lenta, when dried make an agreeable tea. 

It may have been primitively thought a supernatural fact that the common 
birch reappears as if by magic in forests of other trees, European and American, 
after their destruction by fire. 

To the soma (and beanstalk) varieties of the Universe-tree must be assigned 
the vine of gold fashioned by Hephaistos and presented to the Trojans by Zeus.* 
The golden vine of the Jerusalem temple caused it to be said that the Jews 
worshipped Dionusos.* Both worships took the symbol from a cosmic source. 

THE BEANSTALK. In a TNfew Guinea legend, the Man 
who kills the Mountain-devil is so strong that he drives a spear 
through the earth and rock into the heart of the cave where he 
and his mother live. Not far from this cave was a tree so huge 
that it was twice the size of any other tree in the forest. Even the 
head of the giant devil Tauni-kapi-kapi (= Man-eating man) 
would not reach to the top of it. The Man and his mother ascend 
to the treetop, and from there he eventually kills the giant' In 
another legend the king of the Eagles lives with his human wife 

* Plath, Relig. aitd Cultus Alt. Chin, i, 96 ; Edkin's Relig. in Chi. 15 ; Legge's 
ShU'ICingy 144. 

' Jevons's Schrader*s Prehist. Aryan Antiq. 271. ' Myth Rit. and Rel. ii, 180. 

* Josephus Ani. /ud. xv, 11, 3. * H. H. Romilly's Afy Verandah, p. 120. 

Digitized by 


Afyths.^ The Tree-trunk, 295 

and son in the top of a tall tree, and the king of the Snakes 
attafks them, coils himself tightly round the tree, and bit by bit 
begins to break it down. The tree begins to shake and crack, but 
the Eagle king says " he cannot pull down my tree," spits at the 
snake, and the tree is immediately renewed.^ 

(The legends in the book from which these two are quoted are obviously 
very much edited ; and the last suggests some missionary tale told from Genesis 
to the Papuan.) 

Jack going up a ladder to the abode of the Giant who killed 
his father is an analogous incident to this New Guinea myth. In 
a Wyandot tale a child's father is killed and eaten by a Bear, and 
he in turn kills the destroyer. He then climbs up into a tree, and 
blows upon it, whereupon the tree grows and stretches up and up 
till it raises him to the heavens. In it he builds huts, and finally 
breaks off the lower end [separation of heavens and earth see pp. 38, 
87 suprd\ so that no one now can get to the heavens that way. 
The sun too gets caught in this tree, which is just the leading 
mythical fact of the sun on or in the Universe-tree which we have 
at p. 325 infra? The Dog-Rib Indians say that Chapewee stuck 
up in the ground a piece of wood which became a firtree and grew 
with amazing rapidity until its top reached the heavens. Chapewee 
pursued a squirrel up the tree until he reached the stars, and found 
there a fine plain and a beaten Way, The sun here too gets 
caught in a snare set for the squirrel.* 

One of Jack's pretty-coloured Beans (therefore a phaseolus), 
got from the butcher in exchange for the cow, grows and grows 
until next morning it has grown right up into the heavens. When 
Jack goes up, he steals the hen that lays the golden Eggs, and 
being pursued down the Beanstalk by the Giant that killed his 
father, he is just in time to cut the ladder through, [again the 
separation of heavens and earth] and the Giant tumbles down head 
first into the well. 

De Gubernatis has pointed out* that "the kidney-bean is 
evidently intended by the fruit of fruits which, according to the 
Mahd'bhdrata (iii, 13, 423), the merciful man receives in exchange 
for the little black cow, krishnadhenukd, given to the priest, 
phal^n&m phalam a^noti tadi dattvd. 

» H. H. Romilly's My Verandah, p. Ii8. 

' Le Jeune (1637) in Relations desjisuiies (Quebec 1858) on Tyler's E. If. Af, 

' Richardson, FranklitCs Expedition (1828) in Tylor. 

^ ZooL Myth, 1872, i, 244. 

Digitized by 


296 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

In the sixth of Porchat's Contes Merveilleux a youngster climbs 
for a nest in an elmtree, and the never-ending ascent takes him up 
near heaven. Out of the nest appears a beautiful fair-haired 
maiden, either the sun (as before) or the moon. Among the 
American Mandans the tribe climb up a vine from the underworld 
to the Earth, but when half have ascended the vine breaks with the 
weight^ In the Malay island of Celebes Kasimbaha clambers 
up the rattans into the heavens and dwells among the gods.* The 
Mbocobis of Paraguay send their dead up to the heavens by the 
tree Llagdigua which joins heavens and Earth.' The arrowroot and 
another plant — ^here we have a duality, the dual pillar — pushed-up the 
Samoan heavens; and the "heavens-pushing-place" is still shown.* 
There are other ways up to the skies in various parts of the world, 
" the rank Spear-grass, a rope or thong, a spider's web, a ladder of 
iron or gold, a column of smoke, or the rainbow." So wrote Mr. 
E. B. Tylor in the pages I am using ;* but the rainbow is a separate 
conception altogether. 

M. A. R^ville*^ says the New Zealand separator (see pp. 38, 87 
supra) was a divine tree the Father of forests. This idea of separa- 
tion by pushing asunder would of course in such a case also include 
a holding together; just as in the RigVeda the axle is said 
" powerfully to separate heavens and earth " ; whereas it not alone 
separates but connects the wheels which are understood in the 
metaphor. (See " The Wheel.") 

The Russian "Beanstalk" stories do not mention Ivan (or 
Jack) but only the Old Couple (who are in other tales Ivan's 
parents). The old man goes up a cabbage-stalk in one version, 
and takes up the old woman in a sack, but lets her fall when near 
the top, and she is dashed to pieces. In another, she is killed by 
a bundle which falls from the hands of the old man who is up a 
peastalk. In yet another, she falls off the old man's back, as he 
is carrying her up a beanstalk. In another, the peastalk dis- 
appears as soon as the old man is up above, where he encounters 
a seven-eyed goat (= seven-starred Bear!), and to get down again 
he makes a cord of the cobwebs " that float in the summer air," 
and secures it " to the edge of heaven." 

* Lewis and Clarke, Expeditim (Philadelphia, 1814), p. 139 (in Tylor). 
' Schirren, Wandersagen (Riga, 1856) p. 126 (in Tylor). 

5 Humboldt and Bonpland, ii, 276 (in Tylor). * Turner's Sanioa^ 198. 

* Early HisL Mankind, 2nd ed. p. 356. « Rel. des non-civilish, ii, 28. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Tree-trunk. 297 

In 3ome other Russian variants, the Old Couple both climb up 
with their young granddaughter, the bine breaks and down they fall. 
" Since that time," says the story, " no one has set foot in that heavenly 
izbushka (cottage) ; so no one knows anything more about it."^ 
Here we clearly have again that most archaic and widespread idea 
of the separation of a once-joined heavens and Earth.' 

The sacredness of the Bean, that is the celestial connexion of the 
plant, IS to be detected in a very early stage of civilisation in the 
worship of Cardea, p. 160 supra. In the legend of D^m^ter's visit to 
Trisaul^s and Damithal^s,' the mother of the gods, who was also the 
Earth-mother, tabooed the bean. (Pomegranates, which were un- 
doubtedly phallic, were also taboo in the worship of D^m6t^r.*) 

The mystic tree appears unexpectedly in the Ainu legends 
recently published by Mr. Batchelor.* There we have a metal 
pine-tree which grew at the head of the Island, that is the World, 
against which the swords of the gods broke and bent when they 
attacked it. It recurs in another Ainu legend of a visit to the 
under-world, where it has a bear-goddess, and is worshipped, and 
divine symbols are set up to it. We have also a mountain-top, an 
immense serpent, and a long tunnel-like cavern in this legend.* 

In the KalevaLa the far outspreading branches of the universe- 
Oak shut out the light from the Northland, and Pikku Mies the 
pigmy-god, in answer to the intercession of Waino, quickly grows, 
like the Indian Vishnu-Vamana, to a gigantic size and fells the 
tree with three strokes of his copper hatchet. The oak is in this 
" Epic " called pun YamaLa = tree of thunder-land.' 

Skade, the daughter of the giant Thjasse, bore many sons to 
Odinn. She was also called the iron pine-tree's daughter, and she 
sprang from the rocks that rib the sea.® 

The Babylonian (or Akkadian) tree was a dark pine which 
grew in Eridu. Its crown was crystal white and spread towards 
the vault above ; its station was the centre of the Earth ; its 

* Ralston's Russ, Folk-tales, 298. 

^ I trust I may be pardoned for referring the reader to an article of my own in the 
National Observer of 3 Oct. 1891, on "Jack and the Beanstalk." 

^ Patisanias viii, 15, i. '* F. Lenormant in Saglio's Diet, Antiq, i, 1028. 

* Trans. As. Soc. Jap. xvi, 134. 

* Mr. B. H. Chamberlain in Memoirs of Tdkyd University 1887, pp. 23, 24. 

^ J. M. Crawford's /Calevala (1889) ''ix, xxxi. ^ Inglinga Saga, ch. ix. 

Digitized by 


298 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

shrine was the couch or throne of the mighty mother Zikum.* 
The s{^bbas too have a tree of life called Setarvan, the shader, and 
a milk-tree of Paradise, the mahziun, which is prayed-to. Its 
human breasts suckle the babes that die young.* 

The pine under which he mutilated himself was sacred to Attis, 
and it was at the Vernal equinox that the tree was cut [to obtain 
the turpentine, perhaps by " bleeding,"' which was thus a sacred 
simulacrum]. An image or idol of Attis hung on the sacred pine ; 
and the tree must also have been cut-down, unless indeed it was a 
pot-plant, for it was carried with great pomp into the sanctuary of 
the Mother of the gods, and adorned with woollen ribbons and spring 
violets. This was the feast called " Arbor intrat " on 22nd March.* 

The weighty Spear, Sopu, of I^s6n (Jason), son of Ais6n, when 
hardened by the magic drug of MeDea, presents another parallel 
to the Ainu tree. " Idas the son of Aphareus in furious anger 
hacks the butt end thereof with his mighty sword, but the edge 
leaps from it like a hammer from an anvil, beaten back." And his 
comrades cannot bend that spear ever so little.* The serpent 
Lad6n who, in the place of AtLas, guarded the apples of the triad 
of the Hesperides, is, when slain by H^rakl^s, found by the 
Argonauts fallen against the trunk of the apple-tree f and the 
three become, Hesper^ a poplar, Eruth^is an elm, and Aigl6 a 
willow with sacred trunk. All this is Universe-tree myth. And 
we get the same motif in the legend told by Phineus in the 
Argonautika (ii, 476) of the father of Paraibios who drew down a 
curse by his disregard of the '* Woodman, spare that tree " of a 
Hamadryad. He " cut the trunk of an oak that had grown up 
with her " — so is irpi^vov hpvo<; fjKLKo^ rendered (479) ; but I 
cannot refrain from a reminder that eXt/wy is the Arcadian willow 
as well as the Great Bear. There is an alternative reading for 
Spuo? too, which is Aao? (Wellauer in loc). We should thus, if one 
slight emendation were permissible here, have the northern 
Arcadian willow of Zeus as the tree-trunk on which the Universe 
turns, Conipare the Winged Oak, p. 308. Of course it is 
always here maintained that mythic Arcadia is the highest heavens 
(see "The Arcana"). 

' Records oj fasi, ix, 146. 

2 ReHg, des Soubbas^ pp. 6, 41, 27 ; Norberg, Codex NasaraeuSy iii, 68. 

•** F. Lenormant in Saglio's Diet. Antiq, i, 1689. 

* Jbid, 1682, 1685 ; Arnobius Adv. §en/. v, 5 to 7 ; Cl^m. Alex. Protrcpt, ii, 15, 16. 

* Ar^pnauttka, iii, 1246. • Jbid, iv, 1401, 1427. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Tree-trunk. 299 

The eight-cornered sacrificial post or stake (see also pp. 193, 171) 
belongs to Vishnu in the Satapatha-brdhmana} It is raised up 
solemnly (for fixing in the ground) with the text : " With thy crest 
thou hast touched the Sky, with thy middle thou hast filled the 
Air, with thy foot thou hast steadied the Earth." // seerns impos- 
sibte to deny that this has reference to the Universe-aXis^ of which 
the post is thus manifestly the symbol. 

When the priest had to cut down a tree for the sacrificial post, 
he was ordered by the Satapatha-brdhmana* to place a blade of 
darbha-grass between the axe and the tree, saying: **0h 
grass, shield it ! " He then struck, saying : " Oh axe, hurt 
not!" where we have again the "Oh Woodman, spare that 
tree ! " of the drawingroom ditty. It was an ostrich's-head-in- 
the-sand kind of conscience-salve ; and so, when the priest was 
pounding and pestling the soma-twigs for their juice, he was* to think 
in his mind of his enemy, and say : " With this stone I strike not 
thee, but " so-and-so. " But if he hate no one," goes on the guileless 
gfuide, " he may even think of a straw, and so no guilt is incurred." 

ErusiChthon, son of Kekrops and AgLauros (or son of Triops 
or Triopas) profaned with the hatchet a " forest primeval " sacred to 
D6m^t6r, each tree of which was the home of a Dryad (see "The 
Gods of the Druids" infra). D^m^t^r (= Ceres) plagued him 
therefore with the ravenous hunger of famine, and he devoured his 
own limbs (but see also " The Arcana " infrd).^ The Hindfi priest 
doubtless feared some similar vengeance. 

As to "Woodman, spare that tree," there was a pious old- 
woman's wish as far back as Cicero's time :* that the pinewood 
post cut in the forest of P^lion had not fallen to the earth. Cicero 
took his quotation from Ennius : Utinam ne in nemore Pelio 
securibus | caesa cecidisset abiegna ad terram trabes ; and that 
again seems to have been lifted from the Medea of Euripides : 
Mi;S' hf vdirauri Ilr)\iov ireaelv iroTe TfirjOeura irevicrj. 

I think too that this Yfipa or sacrificial post which is hymned 
in the RigVeda as typical of the tree or lord of the wood (Vanas- 
pati),* and is well-clad and hung with wreaths,' must clearly be 

' Eggeling*s, ii, 162, 167, 171, 143. ^ lOid. ii, 164. • Ibid, ii, 243. 

"* F. Lenonnant in Saglio's Diet, i, 1039. * £>e not. Deor. iii, 3a 

' It is no harm here to draw attention to the pretty old fable about the trees electing 
a king, which is put into Jotham's mouth m Judges ix. See also the New 2^ealand Father 
of Forests, p. 296. ^ Wilson's Big Veda, iii, 4. 

Digitized by 


300 The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

placed in the same categoiy as the Ashdrih, which I have already 
mentioned at p. 195, and which must says Prof. Robertson Smith, 
have been either a living tree or a tree-like post, planted in the 
ground like an English Maypole [or a French arbre de Libert^]. 
An Assyrian monument from Khorsdb^d, figured by Botta, 
Layard, and Rawlinson^ shows an ornamental pole planted beside 
a portable altar. Priests stand by it engaged in worship and 
touch the pole with their hands, or perhaps anoint it with some 
liquid substance.* If this were blood it would give our barber's 
pole ; and if oil, would be the " greasy pole " to which I have 
already referred (p. 191 supra). Prof. Smith also suggests that in 
early times tree-worship had such a vogue in Canaan that the sacred 
tree, or the pole its surrogate, had come to be viewed as a general 
symbol of deity which might fittingly stand beside the altar of any 
god.* The Universe-tree and Universe-axis theories here urged go 
farther than this on the same lines. 

The Ashdr^h, a post or pole more or less enriched with orna- 
ments, formed, said F. Lenormant, the consecrated simulacrum of 
the Chthonian goddess of fecundity and life in the Canaan ite 
worship of Palestine.* But he added that the artificial Assyrian 
Ash^r^h (which like Sheruyah his female seems named from As- 
shur) was a figment of the Cosmic tree, which was also the tree of life. 

On the Babylonian " black stone of Lord Aberdeen," of the 
time of king Asarhaddon, the Universe-tree or Tree-of-Life 
appears, like any other idol, in a naos surmounted by a cidaris or 
upright tiara, while the god Asshur hovers above.* 

M. Goblet d'Alviella remarks that the Hebrews in spite of the 
objurgations of the prophets of Yahveh never gave over the 
making and planting of ash^rlm from their establishment in 
Canaan* down to king Josias who burnt the ashdr^ which 
Manasseh, the worshipper of the hosts of the heavens, made and 
set up in the very temple of Jerusalem.' He adds that the 
ashfir^h, being made as well as planted, must have been artificial 
and conventional like our May.* (See " The Christmas Tree " infra.) 

The Tibetans, says Prof Rhys Davids, are fond of putting up 

' Monarchies^ ii, 37. * Helig. of Semites, 171, 175. • Jind. 172. 

* Orig. de thist. i, 89, 570. 

* Fergusson : Ninev. and Persep. 298. F. Lenormant, Orig. i, 88. 

* ludgest iii, 7 (Ash^roth ; but Ash^rtm in Exod. xxxiv, 13). 

' ii Kings, xxiii, 6 ; xxi, 3, 7. * Afig. des Symboles, 1891, 142. 

Digitized by 


Alyihs.'] The Tree-trunk. zo\ 

what they call Trees of the Law, that is lofty flagstuffs with silk 
flags upon them emblazoned with that mystic charm of wonder- 
working power : Om mani padme hum.^ As my theory here is 
that the Dharma, or Law, of Buddhism is the revolution of the 
Universe, these Trees of the Law must be symbols of the Axis. I 
would especially press upon the reader's attention that here we 
have a Buddhist Tree of the Law as well as a Wheel of the Law ; 
compare also the Egyptian flagstaffs of p. 252. 

Among the Aboriginal (?) tribes of S. W. China, the Kau-erh 
Lung-kia "after the springtime stick a small tree in a field, 
which they call the demon(?)-stick. There is a gathering round 
this stick and a dance," and men make their engagements with 
women. The Yao-Miao tribe bind their dead to a tree with 
withies, and the Heh Miao "stick in a bamboo-pole at the graves, 
with silk threads of the five colours."* 

THE BARBER'S POLE. The mention of the sacrificial 
post at p. 300 leads me on here to speak further of the Barber's 
pole. Brand* said that 

It was grasped by the patient " to accelerate the discharge of the blood " 
(which is insufficient on the face of it), and that " as the pole was thus liable to be 
stained, it was painted red, and when not in use was suspended (?) outside the 
door with the white linen swathing-bands twisted around it. In later times, 
when surgery was dissociated from the tonsorial art " [the pomposity is as un- 
grateful as the rest] " the pole was painted red and white, or black and white, or 
even with red white and blue lines winding about it, emblematic of its former 

Now anyone is at liberty unhesitatingly to declare that Brand was 
here plainly and roundly inventing, or retailing invention. 

The theory that this pole had its true and only archaic origin 
in the sacrificial, in the human-sacrificial post is the over- 
mastering one. If the barber's patient grasped the pole, then he 
had been originally a victim. The painting of a red colour is to 
be seen all over India, where, since the Brahminical (and perhaps 
the Buddhistic) abolition of blood-sacrifice, everything is ritualis- 
tically smeared with a red paint, instead of being sprinkled with 
blood.* It is a pious fraud, the outcome of a religious evolution. 
Remember, too, that there is a never-ending mass of evidence 

^ Buddhism (i88o), p. 2IO. 

' A. R. Colquhoun*s Across Chrysi^ ii, 369 to 373. 

* Pop, Antiq, 112. 

^ See also p. 332 infra as to the red tree. 

Digitized by 



302 The Night of the Gods. [Arts 

about the sacrifice of the victim's hair (where the barber comes in 
again) and of his or of her blood, as a palliation of the sacrifice of 
the victim's life. All this was piacular pious fraud ; self-deception 
and cheating the god, both. And the barber's trade of haircutting 
and of bleeding, and his combination of the two, therefore prove 
him to have been originally a butcher-priest at the sacrificial post. 
The medically insane and murderous practice of bleeding the sick 
(and the whole too) never had any other than this expiatory and 
— well, barberous origin. 

Brand further reported that in the House of Lords, on 17th July 1797, 
Lord Thurlow cited a statute which then required both barbers and surgeons to 
use poles (of course as a public security and convenience), the former painting 
them with blue and black stripes. Naturally, when they once got to fency- 
painting, colour was likely to become a matter of taste. 

In China the greater number of the barbers fix a vertical red 
bar over their stove.^ 

THE MA Y-^POLE. Somewhat must here be said of the 
May-pole, which should be carefully distinguished from the May 
or artificial tree (see p. 336). Reference is also requested to the 
Egyptian poles mentioned under the head of "The Dokana," 
p. 252 supra. 

The great shaft or principal 'M.^.y pole of London used to be set 
up in Cornhill, before the parish church of St. Andrew, thence 
called Undershaft* Philip Stubs, in his Anatomie of Abuses^ 1595, 
said men women and children then went to the woods and groves, 
and spent all the night in pleasant pastimes [which we may perhaps 
admit depended somewhat on the weather], returning in the morn- 
ing with birch boughs and branches of trees. 

But their chiefest jewel they bring from thence is the Maie-pole, which they 
bring home with great veneration, as thus— they have twentie or fourtie yoake of 
oxen, every oxe having a sweete nosegaie of flowers tied to the tip of his homes, 
and these oxen drawe home the May-poale, their stinking idol rather [wrote this 
rabid puritan], Which they covered all over with flowers and hearbes, bound 
round with strings from the top to the bottome, and sometimes it was painted 
with variable colours, having two or three hundred men women and children 
following it with great devotion."* 

Perhaps the most remarkable thing here is the use of the 
words, " veneration," " devotion," and " idol." [See also the post on 
p. 194, and the greasy pole, pp. 191, 300.] 

* De Groot, Files ctEmoui^ i, 171. 

3 Stow's Survey^ p. 80 ; Strutt, p. 352, ' Strutt, p. 352. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Tree-irunk. 303 

It is for me noteworthy that the Universe-tree and the Spear- 
axis gods seem to be brought together in the Welsh myth of 
Peredur P^adyr Hir (see p. 198 supra), the Spearsman of the 
long PaL "Gwalchmei ( = falcon of the May- tree) approached 
Peredur, threw his arms round his neck, and they went away 
joyous and united towards Arthur . . . Peredur took the same 
garments as Gwalchmei, and then they repaired, hand in hand, to 
Arthur and saluted him."^ 

THE REED. There is an ever recurrent necessity throughout 
this Inquiry to make mention from varying points of view of the 
symbolism of The Reed, which I consider as cosmic and axial. I 
therefore insert here, next the Pole, some ritualistic particulars 
about it. 

M€7aXiy, the Grand, was a title of D^m^t^r as the Great Mother ; 
and the Megalesia, Roman games and feasts in honour of Cybeld 
(4th to loth April), owed their name to this adjectival title. At 
this period was commemorated the bringing to Rome of the Stone 
(idol) of D^m^t^r from Pessinunte (Ileo-o-^i/oi)? on the frontiers of 
Phrygia), and on previous days, from the 22nd to the 27 th of March, 
was held at Rome the Phrygian feast of Cybel^ and Attis. Before 
that again, on 15 th March, was the feast of Anna Perenna and the 
cannophori or Reed-carrying procession, composed of confrater- 
nities of men, and of women. F. Lenormant made some excellent 
remarks on these Reeds.' He with much insight picks-up out of 
Herodian* the statement that the Phrygians celebrated the similar 
feast on the banks of the river Gallos, and that the reeds were an 
allusion to the Moses-myth of the infant Attis, exposed on those 
banks, and rescued by Cybel^. Nothing could be, for me, more 
direct and genuine and archaic in Cosmic mythology, if he had only 
added on the fact that the river Gallos must be viewed, like the 
Chinese Hoang-ho or Yellow River, as a terrestrial continuation of 
the Milky Way or heavens-river. Thus Galatia where the Gallos 
flowed, and the Galli priests of Cybel6, and the TaKa^la^ kukKo^, via 
lactea, or Milky Way all belong to a similar nominalism, as will 
be more fully shown under " The Heavens-River," where it will be 
found that from Japanese origins I have quite independently 
argued down to a similar conclusion with F. Lenormant — a coin- 

* Loth*s Mabinogion^ ii, 74, 75. 

' In Saglio*s DicL Antiq. " Cybeia," (i, 1685, 1688). » Hist, i, u, 7. 

Digitized by 


3^4 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

cidence at which anyone might well be self-pleased. F. Lenormant 
further signalled on the mystic Cista found in the ruins of the 
M^tr6on at Ostia (see " The Arcana " infra), the self-same celestial 
reeds together with the lion of Cybel^, and the heads of Idaean 
Zeus and of Attis. 

The great Reed on the great North Mountain of the Navajo 
Indians is the Universe-tree. The mountain grows higher and 
higher, and so does the reed, all that is alive takes refuge there from 
the Deluge. When the reed grows to the floor of the fourth world 
creation is saved by creeping through a hole (the Navel).^ 

A poem of the Japanese Kozhiki also gives us one of the other 
obvious references to the world-tree, hitherto undetected -} 
"As for the branches of the five-hundred-fold true tsuki-tree ... the 
uppermost branch has the Sky above it, the middle branch has the East above 
it, the lowest branch has the Earth above it. A leaf from the tip of the upper- 
most branch falls against the middle branch ; a leaf from the tip of the middle 
branch falls against the lowest branch ; a leaf from the tip of the lowest ladling 
. . . . all [goes] curdle-curdle. Ah, this is very awe-inspiring." 
This expression curdle-curdle, koworo-koworo, is said by the com- 
mentators to be akin to the name of the island Onogoro (ono-koro, 
from koru to become solid) or self-curdled, which Izanagi made 
with his spear,^ and to which early reference is made in this Inquiry 
(p. 31). It is just possible that we have here traces of a variant in 
the original creation-myth, and a recognition of the identity of the 
Spear and the World-Tree — one of the points I contend for. 

The Chinese K'iung-tree, the tree of life, is 10,000 cubits high, 
and 300 arm-spans round. Eating its blossom confers immortality. 
Its name, k*iung is a convertible term with Yii, the jadestone, and 
it grows upon the heavens-mountain Kw'^n Lun.* The Tong 
tree of the T^oists also grows on Kw'^nlun at the Gate of 
heaven.^ This mystic plant is, again, the princess Parizad^'s 
Singing Tree in Galland's Arabian Nights, " whose leaves are so 
many mouths, which neverendingly give forth a harmonious concert 
of assorted voices " ; where we clearly have an allusion to the 
Music of the Spheres. 

> Amer. Antiquarian (1883), 208 (W. Matthews, "Navajo Mythology "). 
' Mr. B. H. Chamberlain's valuable version, pp. 321 to 323. 
» lbi(L p. 19. 

* Mayers : Manual^ 99. 

* Paradise Found, 274 (citing LUkcn*8 Traditianen, 72). 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Tree-irunk. 3^5 

The Chinese Sh^n-t'ao, or Peachtree of the gods, grows near 
the palace of Si Wang-Mu, the West Queen-mother. Its fruit of 
immortality ripens once in 3,000 years, and gives 3,000 years of life 
to the eater. Tung-Fang So (Jap. T6bdsaku) stole three (compare 
H^rakl^ and the Hesperid^s-apples), and lived 9,000 years. Si 
Wang-Mu brought seven peaches when she visited the Emperor 
Wu TL The Japanese god Izanag^ repels the Eight thunder-gods 
in the infernal regions by throwing at them the Three fruits of the 
Peachtree that grew at the entrance of the level Pass of the Dark 
World (Yomo tsu hira-saka no saka-moto .... sono Saka- 
moto nam momo no mi wo mi, etc.)' The t'ao (peach) has a 
doublet in the k'iung-tree just mentioned. This tree is also the 
special property of Si Wang-Mu,* who bestows its leaves and 

[Si Wang'Mu and her consort Tung Wang-Kung, the East 
King'lordy bear a strange resemblance to Izananii and Izanagi^ 
having been the first created and creating results of the powers of 
Nature in their primary process of development?] 

There is a tradition among the SQbbas (or Sabaeans) of Mesopotamia that 
a leaf once fell from the heavens with a divine message.* Here we seem to get 
behind the Sibylline leaves. The leaves of the tulasi basil (see p. 317 infra\ 
are still offered to Vishnu in India.* The Egyptian dead were crowned with 
leaves.^ The leaves of the pipal {ficus reltgiosoy see p. 317 in/ra\ somewhat 
resemble those of the poplar, and quiver ceaselessly like those of the aspen.* Is 
this perpetual life-motion and whispering of the leaves one reason towards its 
holiness ? No wood but white poplar was used in burning sacrifices to Zeus at 
Olympia in EHs.^ The virtue of the leaves comes clearly out in the Apoca- 
lypsey xxii, z : " And on this side of the River and on that was a Tree of 
Life bearing twelve crops of fruit (see p. 176 supra\ yielding its fruit every 
iTionth. And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." Here 
we have the heavens-river besides, and the number twelve is clearly celestially 

In the Persian Moslem legends, Joseph (Yusuf), in his dream, fixes his 
staff in the ground (see " The Rod and Rhabdomancy," supra\ and his brothers 
stick-in theirs around his ; whereupon Yusuf beholds his staff growing skyward, 

* Yo-mo = night side ; hira-saka « level descent, i,e, the top, the * col * of the 
mountain-pass ; saka-moto « descent-beginning ; mi « fruit ; mi — three. {Kozhiki^ 
i, 9. Mr. Chamberlain*^, p. 37.) 

* Kozhiki^ P- 19. ' Se« Mayers, Mcmual^ pp. 210, J78, 100. 

* Siouffi Relig. <Us Soubbas^ 1880, p. 7. 

* W\s&Ooi^QXi-CyxmvcMi!^% HinuUayas and Indian Plains y 547, 218. 

* Peremhru ch. xviii and xx. Papyrus of Osor-aaou. Th. DevAria, Cat, MSS. 
1881, 135. ' Pausanias, v, 13 and 14. 


Digitized by 


So6 The Night of the Gods. \Axis 

and budding forth branches so bright that they light up the interval between the 
East and the West. Then fruits rained from the branches on the heads of the 
brethren, who worshipped him while they eat them.* Twelve is, of course, the 
zodiacal number of staves here too ; and see the similar stone-legend, p. 273 
supra^ and also "The Number Twelve," p. 173. 

A tree with ten branches is a frequent incised ornament on archaic "Trojan" 
vases, whorls, and balls.* Here we have a decimal zodiac instead of a duo- 

OSIRIS. To the world-tree myths must, I think, be attached 
a leading portion of the story of Osiris, the coffin containing whose 
dead body is found in the trunk of a tree which had grown round it. 
This tree too, like the spear of Izanagi (pp. 36, 224 supra\ becomes 
the column which sustains the roof of a royal palace. In the 
papyrus of Har-si-6si, Osiris is alluded to as " the One in the Tree"' 
The erica-tree of Osiris reappears in Mas;pero's Egyptian tale 
of the Two Brothers (Papyrus of Orbiney in Brit Mus.) where 
Bitiou places his heart in an acacia-tree. At Hermopolis-Magna 
Thoth was represented by a cocoa-palm 6q cubits; high. The 
"coffin-tree" of Osiris is shown by a Theban bas-relief from 
Medinet-abu (Th. Dev^ria) to be at the water's edge.* Al- 
though called an erica at times, it seems to be a tamarisk also ;* 
and in its branches perches the bennu-bird. This is a further 
identification of the Osiris-tree with the Universertree. The vine 
was also sacred to Osiris. Prof Robertson Smith compares thp 
sacred erica which grew round the dead body of Osiris to the 
Hebrew ashdrih. The erica was anointed (with niyrrh) like thp 

The wooden image of Artemis Orthia, also called Lygod^ma 
(willow-bound) by Pausanias, because found in a willow, is clearly 
another similar legend to that of Osiris. Myrrha, Mvp/wr, the 
daughter of Kinuras King of Cyprus (and father of Addnis in 
Ovid) was when pregnant of Ad6nis changed into a myrrh-tree 
from which the child was delivered, said Hyginus {Fab. 58, 242, 
270), by a blow of a hatchet, or else the tree split-open of itself in the 
tenth month, and the god came forth.® I cannot just now lay l^ands 
on the authority for the enclosure of the body of Attis in his (and 

* Rauzat'US'Safa^ 203. * Schliemann*s Ilios, 367, 383, 413. 
» Th. Dev^ria, Cat, MSS. 1881, 6S. '• Pierret : Diet, 57, 534- 

* A'e/ig. 0/ Semites, 75. « /^etig. 0/ Semites, i8«9, p. 87. 

Digitized by 


Myi/tsJ] The Tree-trunk. 3^7 

Cybel6*s) pine-tree until the spring. Zakhariah the prophet is said 
by the moslems to have taken refuge from his persecutors in the 
hollow of a tree.^ In Irish myth Diarmait and Grania in their flight 
to the south from Finn are helped by Angus to a refuge in the 
wood of the Two Sally-trees, " which is now called Limerick " ;* 
and Diarmait is further counselled by Angus to go not into a tree 
having only one trunk. [See also the remarks on seeking 
sanctuary by grasping the sacred tree, and its connexion with 
the children's game of tig-touch-wood, under the heading of '* The 

Are we to see a glinunering of some similar idea to the tree-Osiris in Yahveh's 
changing of Lot's wife into a pillar (of salt) see p. 239 supra. 

This perennial Universe-myth springs up again in Merlin's Oak : 
Then in one moment she put forth the charm 
Of woven paces and of waving hands ; 
And in the hollow Oak he lay as dead, 
And lost to life and use and name and fame. (Tennyson's Vivien.) 

And previously, in Merlin's mystic words : 

Far other was the song that once I heard 

By this huge Oak, sung nearly where we sit ; 

For here we met — some ten or Twelve of us. 
The Twelve here are doubtless (see p. 306) the celestial or zodiacal twelve 
round the Axis and the Table of the heavens. 

The temple of Jupiter on the capitol at Rome replaced, so 
tradition said, tliie sacred oak of Romulus.* An Etruscan in- 
scription showjed the antiquity of another oak on the Vatican hill.* 
In 456 B.C. Liyy (iii, 25) records that a consul solemnly took an 
oak to witness, as though it had been, a god, the broken faith of 
the neighbouring warlike -^iqui — et haec sacrata quercus et 
quidquid deorum est audiant foedus a vobis ruptum. Apollo- 
doros (iy, 9, 16) makes Ath^n^ attach to the prow of the Argo 
a piece of the prophetic oak of D6d6na ; but the earlier and - 
weightier legend given by Apollonios of Rhodes* makes this 
oaken beam from D6d6na the middle of the keel, and it cries out 
and prophecies in the gloom. That this pak is the Universe-tree 
and this keel a metaphor of the Axis scarcely, admits of contest. 

' Masnavj i Ma'navi of JaU|u-'d-d!n Riimt, foupder of the Mevlevl dervishes 

(1887), p. 74. 

• Joyce** CtlHc Romances, 292, 295, 296. 

» Uvy, i, 10. * Pliny, Hist, Nat, xvi, 87. 

* Argonaut ka (Wellauer), iv, 583. 

U 2 

Digitized by 


3oS The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

The Russian abbot Daniel in A.D. 1106 described the Oak of 
Mamre near Mount Hebron^ as standing on a high mountain. 
Beneath it '* the holy Trinity appeared to the patriarch Abraham, 
and did eat with him. The Trinity also showed Abraham the 
spring." Jews and Christians were naturally at variance as to the 
site of this oak or terebinth.* 

In the sacred hymns of the Finns, the relation of the origin of 
the Birch and also that of the origin of the Oak both mention 
that " its head strove towards the sky, its boughs spread outwards 
into space."* A variant says " its head seized the sky, its branches 
touched the clouds," " an oak had sprouted, a tree-of-god had taken 

For the Oak and the Ash and the bonny Birchen tree, 

They're all a-growin' gi*een in the North countree. {Sailor's Shanty.) 

Herrick's Holy-Oke or Gospel-Tree, under which "thou yerely 
go'st procession," existed at many points of the boundaries of 
Wolverhampton ; and the gospel was read under them by the 
priest who made the parish perambulations.* A clear survival and 
but slight transformation of a pagan ritual. 

The Willow of Zeus upon which the Universe turns (p.. 298 
supra)y and the etymology of YggDrasill as turning-force (p. 291) 
lead us at once to what we shall have again under the heading of 
*' The Winged Sphere," that is the apologue of the Winged Oak, 
over which Zeus threw a magnificent Veil, on which were repre- 
sented the stars, the earth, and the Universe-Ocean. It was a 
myth taken by Pherecydes of Syros (circ. 600 B.C.) from Phoenician 
literature and legends,* which Philo Byblius^ testified to his having 
studied. The Universe was thus conceived-of as an immense tree, 
furnished with wings to indicate its rotary motion ; its roots 
plunging into the abyss, and its extended branches upholding the 
display of the Veil of the firmament. 

The Maruts — Wind-gods or Universe-^/7/-gods — dwell in the 
Ashvattha (that is the horsed) tree, which is another version of the 
winged-oak of Zeus. One flies round with wings, the other is 

> Pal. Pilgrims* Text. Soc. 1888, p. 43. « Jbid. 1889, p. 33. 

• Magic Son^ of the Finns in Folk-Lore^ i, 337, 339, 342. 

• Shaw's Hist Stag, ii, 165. 

» F. Lenormant, Orig. de PHist. i, 96, 568, 569. Goblet d*Alviella, Mig. des 
SymboUs^ 167. 

• Didot's Frag, Hist. Grccc. iii, 572. 

Digitized by 


Afyths."] The Tree-trunk, 309 

drawn round by horses.* And in all these cases it seems clear as 

day that the trunk is the axe, the beam, on which the Cosmos 


Lazarus Geiger said the ashvattha was a name for the banana, and that its 

use for producing fire by twirling and friction is in the Vedas.* This quite 

accords with what has just been said about the turning, and also with what will 

be seen later under the head of " The Fire- Wheel." 

Here seems to be the place to mention Zeus Tropaios, or the 
reverting. The sense of the title is connected with the rotation, 
the return, of the heavens and of the heavenly annual phenomena. 
To say that it merely means the ** turn and flee " of the enemy is 
base rubbish. We may even conjoin the turning Universe tree 
and the word tropaion by considering that this trophy (see p. 205 
supra) was first (as on a medal of Severus) some lopped tree on 
the battle-field,* or else a tall stone — where again we have the 
close connexion of the stock and the stone as sacred monuments. 
Remember that the same root and sense gives us the rpoin/col 
KVKkoiy the tropic, the returning, circles of the solstices. And 
note well for future use that the root is tark^ which also gives 
us torqueo and Tarquinius. It must of course be added that the 
sacred belief was that the trophy-tree held a god,* and this again 
is another immediate link with the winged oak of Zeus. 

According to Thrasybulus (in Scholiast on Iliad xvi, 233) 
Deukali6n prophesied in an oak.* Zeus, according to Hesiod,* 
dwelt in the trunk of the oak-tree. L^t6, that is Latona, grasped 
the trunk of a palm-tree as she brought forth Apollo and Artemis, 
the children of Zeus. This was in the floating island of D6I0S, 
which I have paralleled with the Japanese Onogoro (p. 31). So 
Homer, but Tacitus later laid the venue in Ephesus, " leaning 
against an olive-tree."' Dionusos was adored in Boi6tia as 
endendros,® "in the tree," as well as Zeus. Dionusos, Artemis 
and Helena of Troy were all called dendrites or tree-beings ; 
the last however (in a variant) because of her hanging herself 
or being hanged to a tree (see p. 326 infra). Many of the con- 

> RigVeda^ i, 65, i. Prof. Max Miiller's Vedu Hymns, 1891, 329. 
' Development Human Race^ 1880, p. 100. 

' See also Mneid xi, 5 : Ingentem quercum decisis undique ramis | Constituit 
tumulo, fiilgentiaque induit arana. 

'' E. Saglio in bis grand Diet, Antiq, i, 361. 

* Taylor's Pausanias, ii, 202. • Preller, i, 98. ' Annals^ iii, 61. 

* Hesycbius, sub Toce. 

Digitized by 


3'o The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

sorts of Dionusos had tree or plant-names, such as Althaia 
(marsh-mallow) and Karua ; and Artemis was called Karuatis 
from the walnut-tree. Under that title she was worshipped in 
Laconia.^ Artemis S6teira (saviour) of Boia was a myrtle.* 
The temple of the Ephesian Artemis was in an elm-bole, 
irpkyAfi^ ipl TTTeXif)^, or an oak-trunk, <fnfyuv inrb irpifivxp. Pausanias 
gave her, as A. Kedreatis, a mighty cedar at Orchomenos. 

In an Indian story which has been called Punchkin,* Seven 
princesses are starved by their stepmother, but a tree grows-up out 
of their dead mother's grave, laden with fruits for their relief The 
German Cinderella is helped by the White Bird that dwells on 
the hazel-tree growing out of her mother's grave.* A similar 
legend is familiar to ourselves in the ballad of Lord Lovell, and an 
explanation is offered on p. 323 infra. 

The trees out of which come men are endless. Out of the 
Omumborombonga tree of the Bushmen came the first man and 
woman,* and also oxen. 

It is impossible here to avoid comparing the Deukali6n and 
the DaiDalos stone arid tree myths of the creation of mankind. 
Deukali6n and Purfa throw stones which become men and women, 
animated stoned. DaiDalos invents statues {a^aXfjudray or makes 
animated statues which see and walk, otherwise open their eyes 
and move their arms and legs. In the Daidala annual festivals in 
Boeotia (Boidtia) fourteen (=7 >^ 2) human figures were cut out 
of oaks chosen by bird-divination (Pausanias ix, 6), arid burnt in 
sacrifice to Zeus and H^ra. Every sixty years (a chronological 
cyclic period) there was a jubilee of these Ddidala. The ancients, 
added Pausanias, called wooden statues Daidalian. Apart from 
the reminiscence of a (disused) human sacrifice here noticeable, we 
must see a manifest up-cropping of the similar Norse myth in 
which the sons of Bor make man out of an Ash and woralari dut of 
an Elm. 

* Saglio's Dicf. Antiq, i, 615 (F. Lenormant), 931. 

* Pausanias iii, 10, 70 ; viii, 13, 2 ; iii, 22, 12. Botticher, Baumcult^ p. 451. 

» Does Ihinchkin here go with Thumbling, and mean Little-fist ; punch being =» 
Hindi panch, five (fingers)? This would instantly make clear the fine old phrase 
* punch his head ! * Although Prof. Skeat takes a more classic view» * fives * for the fists 
is a common term of the prize-ring. 

* Miss Frcre*s Old Deccan Days^ 3, 4 ; Grimm, No. 21. 

» Lang's Myth, Rit, and Rel, i, 176. « Apoll. Bibl, iu, 15, 8, la 

Digitized by 


Alyths^ The Tree-trunk, 3" 

The Italiotes also made men issue from the bursting trunks of 
oaks: Gensque virClm truncis et duro robore nata.^ Various 
legends on the subject may be seen in the Mythology of Plants by 
Count A. de Gubernatis. One of the earliest we can now come 
by is perhaps that in Hesiod* where Father Zeus made the third 
race of bronze men, endowed with speech, who issued from the 
trunks of ashtrees, terrible and robust. 

In Saxony and Thuringia folk-lore still makes children 
(especially girls) "grow on the tree."* Our own nursery-lore 
instructs enquiring childhood that babies are found under goose- 
berry-bushes. The Arab geographers Bakui, Masudi, and Ibn- 
Tofeili recounted that the waqwiq talking-tree, in the Waqwaq 
islands at the Eastern extremity of the known Earth, bore young 
women instead of fruit at the tips of its branches.* (See also 
the Subban milk-tree p. 298 supra.) And we must not forget 
that Gautama the Buddha was born beneath the Sala (as6ka) 
trees in the garden of Lumbini.* All this seems to bear the 
mystic interpretation that man is — like everything else in the 
Universe — a denizen of the Universe-tree ; and it also enlightens 
the return of the dead to their origin by hanging their bodies on 
trees (see p. 327). But of course we must give a large share in 
arguing this question of the birth of men from trees to the in- 
dubitable natural-history fact that pristine "men" were tree- 
climbers and tree-dwellers. This is an almighty consideration in 
the argument 

Sir Monier Williams points out* that in some passages of the 
RigVeda (x, 58, 7 ; 16, 3) there are dim hints of a belief in the 
possible migration of the spirits of the dead into plants, trees, and 
streams ; and he adds that in the Hindfi theory of metempsychosis 
all trees and plants are conscious beings, having as distinct per- 
sonalities and souls of their own as gods demons men and animals 
have.' Plants and trees speak in the archaic sacred Nihongi, 
Japan-Chronicles of the 8th century. See too what has been said 
(p. 301) about returning the dead corpse to the tree among the 

* y£n. viii, 315, and Censorinus De die natali, 4. 

• Works and Days, v. 143. • Bergmann's Gyl/a Ginning^ 85, 194, 346. 

* Alex. V. Humboldt, Examen critique, i, 52. 

' Fergusson's Tru and Serpent Worship, p. 131 (sec pL Ixv, fig. 3). 

• ReL Thought and Life in India, i, 281, 

' Manu, i, 49. Rel, Thought and Life in India, \, 331. 

Digitized by 


3^- The Night of ike Gods. \^Axis 

Lady Wilde mentions * the ancient superstition that the first 
man was created from an alder-tree, and the first woman from the 
mountain-ash/'^ In an Irish fairy-tale, a cow goes regularly and 
stands under an old hawthom-tree, out of the trunk of which a 
little wizened old woman comes and milks her, and goes back into 
the tree again.^ In another tale it is a little witch- woman all in red 
that does the same thing. 

An Ainu who lost his way found " a large leafy oak* He lay 
down crying beneath it* Then he fell asleep. He dreamt that 
there was a large house " [proved by another tale mentioned under 
"The Enchanted Horse/' in Vol. l\. to be the heavens-palace], 
"A divine woman came out of it, and spoke thus , , . * I am 
this Tree, which is made the chief of trees by heaven (?)/ Then he 
worshipped the Tree/'^ Of a childless Ainu couple it is told that 
**one day, as the wife went to the mountains to fetch wood, she 
found a little boy crying beside a tree" — just our firm nursery 
faith. In yet another tale, which I think I have already men- 
tioned, an Ainu falls asleep "at the foot of a pine-tree of extra- 
ordinary size and height To him then in a dream appeared the 
goddess of the tree/* This pine is near the entrance of an 
immense cavern, at the far-end of which is a gleam of light, where 
there is the issue to another world (see the Japanese Pass of Yomo, 
p. 305 supra). He found this cavern by pursuing a Bear up a 
mountain until it took refuge in a hole in the ground which led 
into this Cosmic cavern. After his vision of the goddess he wakes, 
offers-up thanks to the Tree, and sets-up divine symbols in its 
honour. The Bear turns out to be a goddess of the underworld 

The palm was an attribute of Apollo, who was born at the foot 
of one as above, p, 309. It is named with the laurel, and at times 
with the olive, whereat legends also place the birth of Latonas' 
twins.* It is figured side by side with a tripod. The Andaman 
islanders say the Earth rests on a palm-tree/ Mahomet's 
favourite fruits were fresh dates and water-nielons» and he ate 
them both together. '* Honour/* said he, " your paternal aunt 
the date-palm, for she was created of the earth of which Adam 

' Amt. Legends &/ Irelnnd^ tSSS, p. 202. 

* Ihid, pp. 113, 171, 

* Mr, Cbamberlain's j^jW ^p/j6*/fl/fj, 188S, pp* 25^ 36, 41. 

* k. SagUo : Diii. dis Aittiq. i, 35S. 

* E, H. Man, Ahfi^, i?f Am*isn;QHSf S6, 

Digitized by 


AfyiAs.] The Tree-trunk, 3^3 

was formed."^ The name of Semitic god Baal-Tamar means Lord 
of the Palm-tree, and the Jews carried green branches on the feast 
of Cabanuelas.* I need do no more than just mention our own 

The early Christian symbol of the date-Palm tree was of 
course adopted from the preceding religions of the Eastern 
countries where that tree flourishes. Ciampini, in his Vetera 
Monumenta^ gives instances from the church of Saints Cosmo and 
Damian at Rome (6th century), where such palm-trees flank the 
figures of Christ and his disciples ; and he adds such a tree with a 
nimbussed bird seated on the topmost palm-leaf. The Christian 
palm-leaf, or branch as we are in the habit of calling it, was also 
adopted from the victorious emblem of former creeds ; and so also 
was the olive-branch as a symbol of peace. Olive crowns had also 
been given to victors in gymnastics, especially in the Athenian 
games. David compared himself to a green olive-tree in the 
house of Elohtm (Psalm Hi, 8). 

" The sacred olive-tree of the Academy was an offshoot of the 
original olive of the Athens Acropolis with which the life and 
personality of the Attic nation was mysteriously bound-up."* It 
would seem that the name of the olive-tree iiopla, the mulberry- 
tree /Mopioy and /jb6po<; fate destiny, must all be connected with the 
Universe-tree round which the wheel of fate or fortune turns. This 
is the only way of adequately expounding Zeus Morios ; for it is 
petty to make him merely ( — he fell to it no doubt — ) the protector 
of olive-trees. He was a Fate-god as well, and the central olive- 
tree of the Acropolis (see Index) was the tree of fate as well. The 
mulberry had the same significance elsewhere, just as the shrew or 
mole ash was a tree of luck or fortune. 

The ^cus Indica (Banyan or Vata, popularly Var for Vad), is 
sacred to K^la, that is to Time,* which accords with my theories of 
the turning of the Universe-tree being a measure of Time. Siva is 
lord of the Va^a tree. (See what is said p. 317 infra^ as to 
the ficus religtosa.) In an Egyptian funereal papyrus occurs the 
prayer " Homage to thee, my father R^, thy substances are the fig- 
tree (Beq.)."* A great figtree in fullest leaf grows on the top of the 

* Lane's Thousand and One Nights, i, 219. • Rev, des ktudes Juives, xi, 97. 

* Harrison and Verrall : Ancient Athene ^ 599. 

* Sir Monier Williams, ReL Thought and Life in India, i, 337, 446. 
» Th. Dev^ria, Cat, MSS. i&Si, 146. 

Digitized by 


3^4 The Nigki of Urn Gods. [Axis 

cliff of Charubdj's((9^/^'jix xii, roj). Odusseus is saved by clinging 
to it like a bat (xit, 432}, and its roots spread i^x below, while its 
brair^ches hang aloft out of reach, long and large and overs had o win cr^ 
just Hke the YggDrasill Ask The first figtree was given by 
Dem^ttrr to Phutalos (the planter: ^vm produce), in return for his 
hospitality.' Here planting must have had a physical sense, as in 
Villon's Jargon, and isth century French slang. This fig:tree was 
shown on the Sacred Way at Eleusis, and there was a similar 
legend at Byzantium, The myrtle was taboo in the women's night- 
offerings to Bona Dea, 

TREE WORSHIP, The great list of Edfu^ enumerates 
many temples of sacred trees and groves. At An;^'taui, Life-of-the- 
two-land^, a temple of Memphis, were the holy trees ncb€sz.nAs€ftL 
These were also at A i or pa-Ai or Ari in the 2nd name ; and 
the trees nebes^ sent, scnta, shent, neh-t, neh, and ashet were also 
found at Aa-tanen, hct-Mes-Mes (the measurer^s temple, Le. 
Thoth's), het-Biu temple of the Rams at Mendes, and het-nebe^ or 

aa-nebes l]^^ jj © °^ "^ J PO©. dwelling of (the tree) 
nebes, which is rendered sycomore. We have also liet-neh lAI 

or y m Q © temple of the sycomore or of the tree, where Osiris 

was worshipped. (Many other words are translated sycomore.) 
Brugsch, writing in 1881 of the gods of the Arabian nome,^ sought 

to identify a Tree- town I A I with the tree nebes J [] A, and to 
call it het-nebes, 

A Sacred grove of neh and sent was at ha-se;^un ; a grove of an 
unnamed species at Pa-sebek or Pa-sui ; a grove of ashet, nebes and 
senta at Aa-n-behu, where was a tomb of Osiris in a grotto D | r^ 
beneath ashet trees. The tree ashet was also at a (fire?) temple 

called Aa bes neb-nebat ^''"^^ J I '^^^^^ Jfl @ ^^ Bubastis ; and 
the same tree (one of the names rendered by persea) was in the 
enclosureof the" Phcenix "-temple het'Bennu J ^^ at An (Helio- 
polis). The Alexandria obelisk, which came from An, mentions 

* Pnus. i, 47, 2. Demeters A£i>p<i iry*o^«fiiXoF (fig-fooJed) is here noticed by 
F. LenonrmiiL He leave? it imeKpouuiied, vlwA so shall I ; majji k bon entendeur, saiul. 

* (. de Rotig^, Inscripu ^Edfau, ^ Ztitschrift w. j. -uk tSSi, 15* 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Tree-trunk. 3^5 

the " holy tree ashet in the interior of het-Bennu " (| ^ ^^ 

Finally* there was in the 3rd, the Mareotic, nome the chief-town 
of Pa-nebt-Amu, town of (our) Lady of the date-Palms ,-.-,000 @ 
and the sacred trees ^ru <-^ _vO ^tnd tern a ^J/k) were at the 

sanctuary of M4-ti or M^-Mi ^^ M ^'^ rr© ^" *^ ^^^^ 

Sacred trees were, in ancient Greece and Rome, like altars and 
temples, protected by a walled sanctuary called a septum ; and 
sometimes enclosed by an unroofed chapel, a sacellum. The olive 
of Ath^n^ on the acropolis of Athens was so enshrined by the 
open-air temple of PanDrosos,^ which, with his name, seems to make 
him an All-Tree god (see p. 349 infra), and Jupiter's beech at 
Rome stood in the building called the fagutal. Many such 
enclosures may be seen in the Pompeian wall-paintings, and on 
the coins of Antoninus Pius. A tree struck by lightning, was ipso 
facto immediately set apart from the vulgar forest, among the 
Romans, as an arbor fulguritica of fanatica.* 

The keremet or sacred sacrificial enclosure — the templum in 
feet — of the Ersa branch of the Mordvin Finns, dwelling between 
the Oka and the Volga, which is figured by Mr. Abercromby in the 
Folk-lore Journal (vii, 83), is so like the similar Mahft-vedi or 
sacrificial ground of the HindCls in Dr. Eggeling's version of the 
ScUapatha-brdhmanaf that I desire the reader specially to compare 
the two. In the centre of the Keremet was the sacred oak or lime 
tree into which the chief sacrificer (the vos-atya ; atya=s father ; 
vos=s ? otsu, great) climbed, and concealed himself amid the foliage. 
The vats of beer (pur^) were under the tree, and the cakes sus- 
pended to its branches.* The Ersa were heathen until the middle 
of the 1 8th century ; and this elder up a tree is a close reminder of 
the Irish divinities in a similar position (p. 320). The Great 
Bear is placed in the top of The Tree by the KalevaLa of the Finns.® 

' J. de Roug^, Giog. Anc. i8gi, ^ssim, • Botticher, BaurruuUus, 153. 

• Servius on jEneid, vi, 72 ; Paulus Diac. 92, 295. 

* Sacred Books of the East, xxvi, 475. The " Utiarawedi " of the plan of this MahA- 
vedi shows me that the *' £ ** point of the plan should be (or once was) the N. 

* Folk-lore Journal, vii, 93. 

• Schiefner's version, x, 31, 42 (in Paradise Found, 27*^). 

Digitized by 


3^6 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

When an orade was given in the sacred forest of Juno on the Esquiline 
hill, the tops of the trees were agitated, according to Ovid. The phrase " at the 
top of the tree," which is still so common popularly for the position of a successful 
man, can, I think, be expounded only from the archaically first position of the 
higher Universe gods at the top of the Universe-tree. Otherwise, the top of a 
tree is not a pleasant pitch for any human being, not even for a primeval tree- 

Hushaby baby, on the tree-top ; 

When the wind blows the cradle will rock ; 

When the tree shakes the cradle will fall, 

And down comes baby, cradle, and all. 
M. Charles Rabot, in his A travers POural et la SibMe^ gives an account 
of " the k^r^m^tes or sacred woods of the Ostiaks, in which they immolate 
domestic animals [sacrificially butcher their meat in fact] before rude idols." 
The k^r^m^te seen by M. Rabot was a clearing in a wood on a river's bank 
near the village of Sukkeria-Paoul at the foot of the Ourals. The gods were 
represented by some pine-trunks surrounded by a mass of rags of glaring 
colours. On one side was a little hut which sheltered two big dolls made out of 
strips of cloth rolled round and round each other. The faces were formed of a 
piece of yellow stuff pierced with four holes for the eyes, nose, and mouth. 
Alongside the idols were the hoofs of horses, which had been sacrificed in 
honour of the gods. On a tree hung a tambourine which the priests (chamanes) 
beat when invoking the spirits. 

It was in the forest of the Teutberg that, in A.D. 9, the Germans 
under that very ** Arminius *' or Hermann to whom the Irminsul 
legends (p. 293 suprd)^ are falsely attributed— for of course he was 
named after the god — There it was, at the modern Winfeld (victory- 
field T) that the Cherusci ffrom whom came the Hermiones) 
extinguished the famous legions of Varus. When Germanicus six 
years later devastated that region, and buried the bleaching bones 
of three legions, he found the heads of the dead fixed on the tree- 
trunks : truncis arborum antefixa ora.^ This recalls the Turkish 
legend of the tree ZakQn which bears skulls for fruits.* 

Buddha is said to have occupied trees forty-three times in the 
course of his transmigrations.* Egyptian metempsychosis also, of 
course, embraced the vegetable kingdom {PereniAru, 81). In 
the Siamese Life of Buddha, he, on attaining omniscience 
adores from the East and from the North the great holy Bo-tree. 
This is the Sanskrit Bodhi or Wisdom-tree, the Plpal ; the term 
bodhi, applied to the penetrating wisdom of a Buddha, being 

* /^evue EncycL ii, 82 (Janvier 1892) ; i, 870. 

^ TaciL Ann, i, 61. 

' Paravey, Astron, HiirogL 76 (cited in SchlegeVs Uranog. Chi, 682). 

*• Sir Monier Williams, ReL TTiought and Life in India, i, 331. 

Digitized by 


AfytAs,'] The Tree-trunk. 3^7 

referred to a word budh, to penetrate. So says Alabaster* ; but as 
there is little doubt that the World-tree is here in question, it seems 
to me that the penetrating permeating idea is to be regarded — if 
it is to be admitted at all — as the primary one in this tree-name. 
The East taking precedence in the adoration, denotes the predomi^ 
nance of Sun-worship. 

The bo-tree of Ceylon is the bodhi-druma or wisdom-tree of India, under 
which Buddha attained enlightenment.' Of course they say no HindO will tell 
a lie under a pi pal tree — if he can avoid it (that is, the tree). Pippala (berry) 
refers especially to the berry or fruit of the ficus religiosa* ; and the Sanskrit 
pippali reappears in Greek as niirtpi (Lat. piper) pepper. Prof Max Miiller in 
his Vedic Hymns^ translates pippala as apple, and the expression pippalam 
rushat, ^ red apple, which occurs in the RigVeda^ v, 54, 12, may thus contain 
not alone our word russet, but also pippin and apple ? 

The tulast, tulsi, or holy Basil, ocimuni sanctum, in whose midst 
are all the deities, and in whose upper branches are all the Vedas, 
must be given a foremost rank among trees that are still wor- 
shipped. Hindfl women are at this moment perpetually per- 
ambulating such shrubs as pot-plants in the interior of their 
houses.' For the illiterate Hindfi women it is a handy symbol, 
a devotional manual as one might say, of the divine Universe-tree. 
Flowers and rice are offered to it, and it is married to the idol of the 
youthful Krishna in every HindCl family every year in the month 
K^rttika (see Index). A plant of it is also placed at the foot of the 
village pipal-tree, and the poorest women, who have none at home, go 
there for their soul's constitutional.® In Sicily the Basil is revered 
and kept in the house-windows for luck, which reminds one of the 
local story of " Isabella and the pot of Basil," a fine picture of 
Mr. Holman Hunt's. 

In early Christian symbolism, the " lily," as experts call it, is " not always 
very accurately defined." On painted glass it sometimes appears as " a little, 
tree or bush, without blossoms."^ This must I think be viewed as a parallel to 
the tulasi shrub of the Hindis. 

[We shall return to this under the head of *' Circular Worship " 
in Vol. II.] 

An acacia was the principal object of worship with the Khoreish 

* Wheel of the Law^ xxx to xxxii, 161. 

* See also Sir M. Williams, HindMsm, 1880, p. 75 ; and Prof. Rhys Davids, 
BuddhisMy 1880, p. 39. 

' Sat.-brdhm, (J. Eggeling) ii, 170. ^ 1891, p. 49a. 

* Sir Monier Williams, Rel, Thought and Life in India, i, 333, 334, 39a. 

* Miss Gordon Cumming's Himalayas and Ind, Plains, 584. 
' Twining's Early Christian Art, 1885, p. 197. 

Digitized by 


3'8 The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

tribe of Arabs. Khaled, by Mahomefs orders^ cut it down to the 
roots and put its priestess to death.^ Two capitularies of Char- 
lemagne (A.D. 789 and 794) forbad the worship of stones, wells, 
and trees ; ordered the Christian priests to get the sacred trees and 
woods destroyed ; and treated as insane those who burnt candles 
or went through other ceremonies to them. The ecclesiastical 
Councils of Agde, Auxerre, Nantes, and others had to renew these 
prohibitions.* As late as the 13th century Helmoldus said the 
Saxons still worshipped wells and trees.* 

These last records give us an all-powerful motive for the 
fatal destruction of European foresj:s ; but it is only fair to 
add that the civil power was not loth to aid in this almost cosmic 
crime, because of the refuge which endless forests afforded to 
the bagaudae and ribauds of the past. The cupidity and 
wastefulness of man, according as the sedentary populations 
increased, must also bear the greatest share of the blame. 
Nevertheless survivals of the holy groves are to l)e traced. 
" Every one does not know," writes Sir Monier Williams, " that 
there existed quite recently a particular qak-copse in the island 
of Skye, which the inhabitants held inviolably sacred."* The 
sacred groves in Ireland in the 3rd century were called fidhneimadh,* 
and see p. 271 supra. In the 7th century St. Eloi had to forbid the 
making of vows at trees, or driving the flocks through a hollow 
tree, or in any way honouring trees.* The council of Leptines in 
Hainault in 742 forbad sacrifices called nimidas to be made in forests. 
The Hessians, who lived on the lower Rhine in the 8th century, 
when they were christened by St Boniface, still then adored a 
tree-trunk which was their symbol of Thor : robur Jovis sive Thori 
deastri' (robur meant strength, pillar, oak, as well as tree-trunk). 

Pausanias (viii, 4) recorded tliat the tomb of Alkmai6n at 
Psophis was surrounded by lofty cypresses which could not be 
cut down, and they were called Virgins by the natives. Until 
about 1872 no one in Orissa dare plant a cocoa-nut tree except a 
Br^hmaa* Vanin means tree in tl\e Rig Veda {i^ 39, 3 ; vii, 56, 25), 

> Dulaure : CulUs (abr^^) i, 65. » Capitul ii, 269, 255. 

■ Chronic, Sax. Helmoldiiy c. lo, p. io6 (in Dulaure). 

< ReL Thought and Life in India^ i, 330. * Petrie's Irish Arckit. 62, 63. 

• De Baecker Relig, Nord France y 316, 317, 319. 

7 Eckart, De redui FranHa^ p. 344. 

' Hunter's Orissa^ ii, 141. 

Digitized by 


AfythsP^ The Tree-trunk. 3^9 

and vanin also means worshipful (i, 64, 12). The Japanese Shintd 
priests, vested in white, exorcise by waving branches of trees.^ 

At Tenby and elsewhere in Wales existed a custom of the people 
whipping each other's legs with holly branches on 26th December, 
and this was sometimes done until the blood ran down.* Here we 
have a survival of the milder substitute for total human sacrifice 
which is found all over the world under the form of ritualistic 
bleeding (see "The Barber's Pole," p. 301 supra), and which even 
still survives in the " discipline " self-inflicted by devoutly ascetic 
Christians, and the eccentricities of the moslem Rufai (our Howl- 
ing) dervishes. The Welsh use of holly is typical, and it still holds 
its holiness with us as a house-decor^ition c^t the feasts of the winter 
solstice. The spellings holin and holie occur in the A?tcren Riwle 
(Rule of Anchorites, circa 1230) p. 418, but the cjerivation of the 
word from a root kul = hul is scarcely convincing. 

In the Forest of Dean was a mine-law court held before the 
constable of St. Bpavels. The parties and witnesses to a suit were 
sworn upon ^ Bible into which a piece of holly stick was put, and 
they wore their hooff or n^ining-cap during examination. Here 
we have an oath, with the head covered, taken on sacred wood. 
The Bible must have been an addition.® This oath has been 
traced back to at least the 13th century, and another storian says 
they " touched the book of the four gospels with a stick of holly, 
and the Sf^me stick was usually employed, being by long usage 
consecrated to the purpose."* I take these interesting particulars 
from Mr. E. S. Hartland's excellent County Folk-lore (i, 39) now in 
course of issue by the devoted Folk-Lore Society ; and I add that 
this oath is like the Hindi's oath in our Indian courts of justice, 
which is taken on a bottle of Ganges water, upon which a branch of 
the sacred tulasi basil is laid.^ Mr. Hartland has also collected the 
curious fact that in the Vale of Gloucester the hedgers and ditchers 
will not faggot the Elder boughs, saying no one ever heard of such 
a thing as burning Elian wood — so they call it ; and they carry 
about them a natural cross, obtained by cutting a branch above and 

^ Chamberlain's Things /apatuse^ 91. 

' Southey*5j Common Place Book, 185 1, p. 365 14th series). Mason's Tales and 
Traditions of Tenby, 1858, p. 5. 

» Rudder's Hist. Gloucester^h, 1779, pp. 32, 33. 

* NichoU's Acct, of the Forest of Dean, 1858, p. 149. 

* Miss Gordon Cumming's Himalayas and Indian Plains, 570, 514. 

Digitized by 


320 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

below two side-shoots, as a charm against rheumatism.^ But were 
I to print all the facts of this nature that I have amassed, the 
quantity of them would merely confuse. 

THE ROWAN TREE. The Gaelic name of the rowan is 
caerthainn, and its earthly origin is related in the Pursuit of 
Diarmait and Crania, The divine De Dananns brought its berries 
from their celestial Land of Promise, Tir Tairmgire (which name 
seems permutable with Inis-Manann, the mythic Isle of Man), and 
they fed upon them. As they passed through the wood of Dooros 
(Old Irish daur tree oak) one scarlet berry fell to Earth, and from 
it sprang up in a vast wilderness a great tree which had all the 
virtues of its celestial double. Its berries tasted of honey, eating 
of them cheered like old mead, and if a man had reached the age 
of a hundred he reverted to his thirtieth year at his third berry. This 
of course is a straight parallel to the haoma, and to the Chinese 
peaches, p. 305 supra ; and the red berries are even a reminder of the 
pippalam rusat, p. 317. The berries on the summit of the Rowan- 
tree — it is ever so, in spite of the fox — were sweetest ; those on 
the lowest branches being bitter in comparison. It was guarded by 
a/^w«/r giant of the North called Sharvan {searbhan^ surly?), with 
one broad red fiery eye in the middle of his black forehead (a 
Cyclops) ; he had his hut up among the branches of the tree. 
Finn sends an Angus and an Aedh (flame) to get him a handful 
of the berries ; but Grania longs for them, and Diarmait kills 
Searbhan, obtains the berries, and lives with Grania in the fomuir's 
hut [Compare the mistletoe (and the sun) on the Universe-tree, 
p. 325 infra!] Another English name found for the rowan, quick- 
beam (Anglo-Saxon bedm = tree) or quicken-tree, is simply tree of 
life or life-giving tree. 

Pursuers of this Inquiry will not be surprised to find a Palace 
of this Tree, the Bruighean Caerthainn, which forms the subject 
and title of one of the most popular Gaelic tales.* Diarmait's 
servant Muadhan uses a long straight rod of the tree to fish for 
his three mystic salmon ; and the palace in which Finn and the 

* County Folk-lore (Folk-Lore Society) 1892, i, 54. 

« Translated for the first time by Dr. P. W. Joyce in Old Celtic Romances^ 1879 
pp. 177, xiv. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Tree-trunk. 321 

Fianna (Fenians) were enchanted by Miodhach (a central divine 
power : miodh = mid, navel) turns out to be a hut of rough boards 
fastened together with tough withies of the caerthainn.^ 

On May morning the people (where in Ireland is not stated) 
cut and peel branches of the mountain-ash, and bind the twigs 
round the milk-pails and the churn. No witch or fairy can then 
play tricks with the milk or butter. This must be done before 
sunrise. The mountain-ash is the best of all safeguards against 
witchcraft and devil's magic* (See also p. 339 infra,) In a sacred 
hymn of the Finland Finns it is said that *' the rowan was made 
by Piru.'*» (See p. 338 infra.) 

King James (no less), " who never said a foolish thing, and 
never did a wise one," in his Daemonologie (i, ch. 4) recorded the 
charming of cattle ** from evill eyes by knitting rountrees to the 
haire and tailes of the goodes " (cattle). " The raven tree was good 
to keip upon both man and beist" in 1663.* The rown tree or 
quick-beam (= tree of life) is frequent near "druidical circles." 
One stood in every churchyard in Wales, and on one day in the 
year every one wore a cross of the wood, against fascination and 
evil spirits,* In the trial of a poor wretch named Bartie Paterson 
for witchcraft in 1607 it came out that he wore continually upon 
him, " for his helth, nyne pieces of rowne trie."* A twig of wicken, 
as the rowan is called in the Lincolnshire fens, is marvellously 
effective against witches and all other ill things/ 

The most typical popular custom about the rowan seems to be 
in Yorkshire, where at Cleveland the 2nd day in May is rowan- 
tree day or rowantree-witch day. Some one then goes out of the 
house until a rowan is met with, when branches are broken off and 
carried back by a different path, which gives us a circular per- 
ambulation. A twig is then stuck over every door of the house 
and outhouses, and left there till it falls. A bit is or was also 
carried in the pocket or the purse by some. " Rowan tree-gads " or 
whipstocks are also charms against restiveness, jibbing, stopping, 
or sulking in horses, caused by witches.® Here we may dimly see 
a connexion between the Universe-tree branches and the heavens- 

* Old Celtic Romances, 314 to 323, 190, 192, 298, • Lady Wilde's Anct. 
Legends i 1888, p. 104. • Magic Songs of the Finns , in Folk- Lore, i, 347. 

* 'DiX'j^^s Darker Superst, 1835, 139. * Evelyn's 5'/A'a, ch. xvi. 

•^ Dalyell, 395. ^ Miss M. G. W. Peacock in Folk- Lore, ii, 510: 

« T. F. Thiselton Dyer's Brit, Pop, Cust. 1876, 274, 154, 394. 


Digitized by 



322 The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

charioteer. Crosses of rowan-twigs are put over doors and windows 
in Aberdeenshire' on this day, which was turned by the Roman 
Christian Church into the feast of ** the Invention of the Cross." 
On Good Friday a rowan stick is the only poker in the Isle of 
Man, for iron must not touch fire that day. In Scotland on 
Hallowe'en the red end of a rowan-brand is waved about A 
rhyme ad hoc (doubtless corrupt) is given as : - 

Rowantree and red thread 

Gar the witches dance their dead. 
Perhaps I ought here to note that the pfpal (ficus religiosa), so 
much mentioned already, in which the essence of Brahm^ abides^ 
is still invested in India with the sacred thread.* 

Prof. Skeat brings the name of the rowan-tree (which he gives as roan 
and rowan), from the Latin omus. But one would wish to see proof that the 
Latin omus, wild ash, meant our rowan. This seems a case in which a philo- 
logical rule of letter-change drives instead of being driven. The Swedish he 
gives as rdnn ; OldSwedish runn ; Danish r5n ; Icelandic reynir ; which mean 
the service and sorb trees as well. Mr. E. G. Wharton says omus was the 
mountain-ash and is not from Sanskrit drnas which Sanskrit gnunmarians have 
(unsupported) given as meaning teak. He does not connect omus with rowan.* 
The botanical fraxinus omus is of course not evidence, and the French ome is 
not our berried rowan, which is a frfine sauvage. 

THE TREE AND THE WELL. The term edgeweU tree 
seems to have been current for the holy tree at the well ; and a 
branch falling from an oak in this position at Dalhousie Castle 
portended a death in the family/ 

In the Persian Rauzat-usSafa (p. 313) when Miisa fled after 
murdering the Egyptian, "he arrived near thezf/^/ZofMadian which 
was deep as the meditations of sages, and penetrating like the 
thoughts of the intelligent. Near the well there was a Tree, lifting 
its head to the cupola of Orion." The top of the well was covered 
by a stone, which it took 40 men*s strength to move. He took up 
his station under the tree, and addressed his prayers to the omni- 
potent granter of requests. In the KorAn (ch. liii) is the lote or 
lotos tree, beyond which there is no passing ; near it is the garden 
of eternal abode. It stands in the seventh heaven, on the right 
hand of the throne of Allah, and that over which it spreads exceeds 

* T. F. Thiselton Dyer*s BriU Pop, Cust, 1876, 274, 154, 394. 

' Sir Monicr Williams, Pel. Th&tight and Lifsy i, 335. » Etyma LaHma, 

♦ Allan Ramsay, Poetm^ i, 276. 

Digitized by 


Myths,'] The Tree-trunk, 323 

all description and numbering. " Some boundless contiguity of 
shade," is Cowper's satisfying expression in " The Task." 

There is a curious enchainment of Universe-tree traditions in the Legend 
of the " Sancta Crux,"* which might be abridged somewhat as follows :— Through 
a tree we were forlorn, and through a tree to life y-brought Adam sent his son 
Seth back to paradise to implore pardon, and get him the oil of mercy to anoint 
(smear) himself with, and be saved. In the centre of a flowery mead Seth saw 
a fair well, from which come all the waters on Earth. ' Over the well there 
stood a tree ; an adder was curled round it ; and it was that tree and that 
Naddre {sic) that made Adam do the first sin. The angel took an apple off the 
tree, and gave Seth three kernels thereof to put under his father's tongue when 
he should die, and so bury him. [A strange and obviously genuine old ritual, which 
doubtless gives us the clue to the " Lord Lovell" legends, see p. 310 supra."] A 
few years thereafterward three small sweetsmelling rods grew up, fair beyond all 
things. Moses, leading the folk of Israel, discovered them, and " Lo here !" he 
said, " great betokening of the holy Trinity ! " He took them up with great 
honour and carried them two-and-forty year, for to heal sick men ; and then set 
them under the hill of Tabor, dying there himself [like Buddha under the Bo- 
tree of Ceylon]. More than a thousand year later Saint David the king came, 
and with great melody of his harp transplanted the three to Jerusalem in nine 
days, where they grew together in a night into one single tree. David built a 
strong wall round it [like the Roman septum or sacellum, p. 315 supra\. King 
Salomon felled and hewed it for his temple, but it was by a foot too short ; and 
being rejected of the carpenters it became a bridge over an old ditch. But the 
queen of Saba passing that way, recognised and honoured it, and made Salomon 
bury it away safely. A fair well then again sprang from the buried beam, and a 
fair water with great fischsches. At last the piece of timber began to float in this 
deep long river, and the Giw^s (Jews) coming and finding it, made thereof the 
Holy Rood. This legend is in the Gospel of Nicodemus. See also the Cites de 
Jherusalem (i 187 A.D.)' 

The tree of the banks of the Cocytus was the Yew, and this 
perhaps gives us a broad hint as to the reason for the yews of 
our churchyards. 

THE THORN, Cardea was beloved by Janus, who gave her 
her good-fortunate power, and also her hawthorn which banishes 
evil from the threshold touched with it. This is native Latin or 
Italic ; and Cardea is elsewhere connected with the Cardo, and 
the Navel, and Beans (see p. 160 supra), Festus {s, v, Patrimi) 
said that a torch of whitethorn, spina alba, was carried before the 
newly married couple by a boy. 

The Glastonbury thorn is found very far back in the IlrfKMv 

* Bodleian MS. Laud, 108 {circ. A.D. 1280). Early English Text Society, 1887. 

* Pal. Pilgrims' Text See. 1888, p. 22. 

X 2 

Digitized by 


324 The Night of the Gods, {Axis 

Spo<; of Dicaearchus, where the white'thom growing on the heavens- 
mountain Pelion had (like the white myrtles) the power to make the 
body insensible to the winter's cold and to the most ardent beams 
of the sun. Hard to find, it was harder still to gather it In 
Halfdan the Black's Saga, queen Ragnhild takes a thorn out of 
her shift — one of the pins of those days — and while she holds it 
in her fingers it grows into a great tree, one end of which strikes 
down roots into the earth, while the other grows up out of sight. 
Below it was red, higher up the stem was green, and the branches 
were white as snow. So vast is it that it spreads over all Norway, 
and much more : Thomson's ** boundless deep immensity of shade," 
in The Seasons (Summer). This legend the saga turns into a 
dream, and the same dream is also told of Harald Fairfa^^ (or 

This Glastonbury myth breaks out in William of Malmesbury's 
1 2th century story of Joseph of Arimathea striking his staff into 
the ground at Avallonia (afterwards called Glastonbury), when it 
burst into leaf and bloomed with the blossoms of the holy Thorn. 
It was fabled that this Joseph was sent to christianize Britain about 
A.D. 63 ; but note that Avallon denotes another tree, the appk 
(Breton, aval), and not the a\ hite thorn. 

Arthur was buried in the Isle of Avallach or Avallon, a name 
which, says M. J. Loth, primitively indicates a mysterious region, 
a sort of Celtic paradise, which was only at a late enough period 
identified with Glastonbury.* May I add to this that it would 
indicate a perhaps mythic origin for the Glas- of Glastonbury, as 
having reference perhaps to the towers of glass and Merlin'^ 
crystal prison (see p. 267 supra). In one of the islands visited 
by Maelduin a single apple-Xxt^ very tall and slender (axis) 
grew in the middle ; and all its branches were in like manner 
exceedingly slender and of wondrous length, so that they grew 
over the circular high hill that bounded the island, and down into 
the sea.* 

No one modern record about the Glastonbury Thorn that I 
have been able to examine seems to merit two perusals. They 
are all hopelessly loose, and many are obviously lying ; but such 
a freak of nature, if viewed as occasional, is by no means to h^ 
wholly denied. There is a celebrated Fudan-zakura or perpetual- 

* Heiniskringla (Laing and Anderson) 1889, i, pp. 337, 396. 

' Les Mabinogion^ 1889, ii, 215, 360. • Joyce's Celtic Romancet^ 125. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'\ The Tree-trunk 325 

cherry at Shiroko in Japan which is reputed to blossom all the 
year round. The writer who describes it in Messrs. Satow 
and Hawes's model Handbook of Japan^ saw it once on 17th 
November with at least 100 flowers on its N. side. When I took 
this note I added the following: "This year, 1886, the apple-trees 
here covered themselves with blossom in October. Villa de la 
Combe, near Cognac (Charente)." It is stated in Dumas's La Reine 
Margot (i, ch. 11), upon the authority of I know not what Memoirs, 
that the aub^pine of the cemetery of the Innocents in Paris flowered 
after the Saint Bartholomew battue, 24th August 1572. The 
hygroscopic annual plant Anastatica hierochuntica is said in many 
countries to flower on Christmas-day, and that is said to be the 
reason of its popular name of Rose of Jericho. In the Roman de 
Roncevaux a miraculous aub^pine grows out of the grave of every 
christian killed with Roland at this purely mythic battle,* a legend 
which gives us, from one point of view another and a wholesale 
**Lord Lovell" incident (see pp. 310 and 323 supra), 

THE MISTLETOE. Lazarus Geiger was at least indistinct 
in claiming the ficus religiosa as a type of the sun. He said in 
** The Discovery of Fire " : 

the Hindoos do not choose the wood which is practically the 
fittest, but that of the ficus religiosa ; and that not only because this tree bears a 
reddish fruit but (as is expressly said, and as analogies of other holy trees 
amongst kindred peoples, e,g, the Mistletoe so sacred among the Gauls, testify) 
because it takes root upon other trees, and its branches hang down in great 
abundance. It is manifestly a type of the Sun, for he is often compared to a 
Wonderful tree, whose roots are high up in the air, and which sends down its rays 
like branches on to the earth.* 

Geiger had not thought this out ; ** roots high up in the air " is 
rank nonsense, and the direct reason for the mistletoe representing 
the Sun is that the globular plant, the golden branch, as seen on a 
bare winter tree, with the light on it, fitly enough in northern 
latitudes, suggests the face of the feeble winter sun with his fabled 
yellow beard and yellow hair. Latet arbore opaca aureus et foliis 
et lento vimine ramus, {^neid vi, 137). The Sun is not the 
Universe-tree, but is on the Universe-tree, makes his daily journey 
round with the Universe-tree. A good illustration of the widely 
human nature of this idea will be found in the Chinese characters 

* 2nd ed. London, John Murray, 1884, p. 169. 

' MS. 860 in Bibl. Nat. de Paris, fo. 25 recto, col. 2. 

' Development of Human Race^ Triibner, 188'), p. 106. 

Digitized by 


326 Tfie Night of the Gods. {Axis 

for East, noon, and sunset, tung, kao, and yao, which consist of a 
sun H behind a tree TfC, tung % (as if sunrise) ; a sun above a tree, 
kao ^; and a sun beneath a tree, yao ^ (see p. 320 supra), 
F. G. Bergmann makes a similar extraordinary blunder to Geiger*s, 
when he says "the sun was represented by a symbolic tree, an 
oak or an ash," among the Scythian tribes.^ But Geiger and 
Bergmann would not have made these statements if many others 
had not done so before them. The incongruous absorption of all 
the gods and all the symbols wholus-bolus by the Sun has been 
going on for at least some 1700 years in the Latin world. A useful 
brief survey of the question has been given by M.Jean R^ville,* but 
anyone who wants to have his fill of this sun-madness in excekis 
need only read chapters xvii to xxiii of the 5th century Satumcdia 
of Macrobius, for whom Microbius would therein have been a better 
name. The Sun has in fact been gradually made a sort of 
" universal referee," and there is scarce a mythologian that has 
not joined in the facile and labour-saving occupation of over- 
loading him with business. As already intimated at p. 21 a 
Section on this aspect of Sun-Worship has been excluded by the 
boundaries of the present Inquiry. 

A book of American Lectures* says that Baldur was killed with a mistletoe 
" wand." English girls at all events know better than to talk of a wand, of 

The (white) Flanna are preceded in Irish mythology by the 
powers of the Red Branch, the Craebh-ruadh** 

5 WINGING. There is one rite of tree-worship which may be 
mentioned here : " swinging "—the aUapa or ioapa (from octpo) to 
raise) of the Greeks. This was referred to Erigon6 the daughter of 
Ikarios, who like Helena (p. 309) ha«ged herself in a tree.* And 
it has been (idly, as I think) theorised that the actual swinging 
by pushing a person seated in a " swing," meant purification by air 
as a parallel rite to purification by water and by fire.* 

Festus says those who were swung, the oscillantes, had their 
faces covered through shame, verecundia. For this he quotes 
Cornificius, but as he is trying to bring oscillantes from os celare (to 

' Gylfa Ginningy 1 87 1, p. 23. 

' Relig. d Rome sous Us Sivires^ 1886, pp. 286 to 290. 

» Sanskrit and its Kindred Literature s, by Laura Elizabeth Poor, 1881, p. 281. 

•* Joyce's Celtic Romances^ 409. 

* Ilyginus : Astron, u, 4. • Servius on y^neidvi, 741. 

Digitized by 


Myths. '\ The Tree-trunk, 327 

hide the face, with a mask ?)* we may as well receive what he says 
with utmost caution. If such a practice existed, it would be 
monstrous like the "hangman's nightcap." Festus goes on to 
explain the swing as figurative of human life, with its ups and 
downs ; and also of the rocking cradle, adding that milk was the 
drink at the swinging festivals. He winds up, however, with the 
ferigon^ explanation. The oscilla seem from Macrobius* to have 
been artificial human effigies: oscilla ad humanam effigiem arte 
simulata ; and Virgil mentions' the mobile oscilla suspended from 
the tall pine to Bacchus, with joyful hymns. 

1 think we must discern a similar belief in the account of the 
plain of Circe in the Argonautika (iii, 200) : 

" On it were growing in rows many willows and osiers, on whose branches 
hang dead men, bound with cords. For to this day it is an abomination to 
Colchians to bum the corpses of men with fire ; nor is it lawful to lay them in 
the earth and heap a cairn above them ; but two men must roll them up in hides 
untanned, and fasten them to trees afar from the town [see also p. 311 suprd\, 
And yet the Earth getteth an equal share with the Air, for they bury their 
women-folk in the ground." 

Here we seem to have those men who die in their beds given 
the blessed advantage of hanging after death,* a privilege denied to 
women. The hanging of women still goes hard with us. They 
say the first hanging of a woman in France was in 1449." French 
kings, according to J. B. B. de - Roquefort* were buried in stag- 

The good effects of the cord in curing headaches — grim was the 
joke — were mentioned by Pliny (xxviii, 4), and he added that the 
hairs of the hanged were a febrifuge. (Mon ami, c'est du froid, 
said shivering Bailly at the scaffold.) 

Then again, Odinn was the god of the hanged, in which we 
must perhaps discern the true rationale for archaic hanging-sacri- 
fices of men and animals on trees ; and also that Odinn must also 
have been a tree-god. Prisoners of war, and all victims, were 
hanged on the trees of sacred groves as sacrifices to him as god of 

* The best suggestion seems obscillo, move-from ; unless indeed the word merely 
tells us that the practice was got fixjm the Osci, the Oscan peoiile. 

2 Saturn, i, 7. ^ Georg. ii, 389. 

* On the other hand hanging was ** the curse of Elohfm " among the Hebrews in 
the time of Deuteronomy xxi, 23. See also Genesis xl, 19. 

• Desmaze : Curiositis des Anciennes Justices (i867), p. 328. 

• His edition of Le Grand d'Aussy's Vie Pri7jJe (1815) i, 396. 

Digitized by 


328 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

battles and of the air, says Bergmann ;^ and thus hanging, being 
a mode of sacrifice to the supreme god, was not dishonouring. 
Odinn's horse is said to have been a name for a gallows.* Our 
own putting-to-death and suicide by hanging must have had 
such an origin and sanction. It also explains — what no other 
incident of the hanging will— the ancient and universal luckiness 
of " a bit of the rope," which is still an ineradicable and wide- 
spread belief. [I have had a piece offered to me (in a case of 
suicide, and it was soaped) by a police-officer in the East] " TelFem 
her's going to heaven on a string," says Taffy in the old song* 
Harman's Caveat used the phrase "to clyme three trees with a 
[one] ladder." Even the scaffolding for the guillotine in France 
is still called " les bois de justice*" The king's kindred were (alone ?) 
hanged in archaic China, and the hangman was a forester.* Yama 
holds a noose round the neck of every living creature.* The sagas 
speak of Hagbard's noose falling in middle air,* and all this niay cast 
the real light upon the other kind of swinging from trees, the ampa, 
which would have been a mild substitute for the human sacrifice.* 

In a Russian tale of a childless old couple, *' the husband at last 
went into the forest, felled wood, and made a cradle^ Into this his 
wife laid one of the logs he had cut, and began swinging it, crooning 
the while a rune Beginning : * swing, blockie dear, swing I * After a 
little time, behold the block already had legs. The old woman 
rejoiced greatly, and began singing anew, and went on singing until 
the block became a baby."* Here we have an odd pendant to the 
creation of men from trees supra. 

The merry-go-round gymnastic machine common at schools, 
consisting of a stout pole with a swivel at the top and pendant 
ropes by which the children can fly round in a circle, may have had 
a sacred origin likewise* 

It is a curious and very admirable form of the primeval Tree-legend that is 
still so survivacious in the Indian juggler stories. The oddest thing about these 
tales is that so many people receive helplessly, as " a positive fact Sir," and 
without any warranty whatever, the actual bond-fide performance of a miracle 
by each and every one of these nameless mountebanks, llie receivers will 
" stuff them down your throat " too ; and if you politely feign sufficient interest 

* Gylfa Ginningy 247. « Heiniskringla (1889) i, 300. 

» Legge's Z/-AV, i, 356. < Darmesteter*s Zend Av, i, IxviiL 

• See also an article of mine called '* As High as Haman " in the National Observer, 
22nd August 1 89 1. 

« Ralsion's Rms. Folk-tales, 168. 

Digitized by 


Myths ?\ Tlie Tree-trunk, 329 

to ask uncomfortable questions about a thing that always happens *' in a com- 
pound up country" somewhere, they become ahnost as rude as fanatics will 
about " a mystery of revealed religion." 

The rapid conjuring-up of a seed into a sprout, a plant, a bloom, and 
finally a Mango-fruit, may well be a plagiary from some long-lost sacred 
mystery-play of the Universe-tree ; and one must suspect the basket-trick too 
to be a remanet of a ritualistic commemoration of the once holy great myth, so 
widely spread and oft-repeated, of the youthful deity condemned to extinction 
in a chest, coffer, or basket. Numbers of these myths are mentioned under 
the head of " The Arcana." 

A third of these tricks, as they have long sunk down to being, is that of the 
ball of twine. The juggler winds the end of the string found a finger, and then 
throws the ball up^ into the air. The ball goes higher and higher until it is lost 
to sight, and then hand-over-hand the juggler shins up the string. Now this is 
a clear variant of Jack and the Beanstalk ; but it combines with that Universe- 
tree idea another one, much dwelt-on here, of the primeval connexion and 
actual communication between heavens and earth by the Axis. In other 
variants a second juggler with a knife pursues the first fellow up the — well, up 
the yam, and cuts him into pieces which fall to the ground. The slayer then 
slides down, puts the pieces together, and brings his precursor back to life. 
This terrible incident belongs to the Osiris-myth type (see Index). " Ibn Batuta, 
the old Arab traveller in the East, saw the thing done, and tells the story." 
Col. Yule quoted it in his Marco Polo, and gave Mr. Andrew Lang a set of 
notes tracing the narrative through some 500 years ; he also had cuttings of 
modem instancies from Indian newspapers.* 

Now the easy explanation of "downright lying" will not wholly suffice here. 
The gravamen for the comparative mythologist is the subsisting faith in, and 
magnification of, all these clumsy tricks as being bond fide miraculous ; and 
that faith can, I think, be explained only as a survival too, as a survival of 
a once overawing worship of the great Cosmic myths of which the poor tricks 
are now but the relicts. The acquired brain-habit of this worship — as of so 
many other worships which are still more vigorous — has not even yet wholly 
ceased to be instinctive. Of course one must also posit a fierce and firm faith 
in an active and protean devil — he long since became a devil — hidden away 
behind the candid belief in all these stories. 

The All-embracing conception of the Universe-Tree obtains — it 
is not too fanciful to suggest — a very striking illustration and 
support from the extraordinary number of products (now getting 
on for 200) which modem chemists keep on extracting from coal- 
tar. These embrace a most extensive variety of the substances or 
elements in Nature, which must have been all assimilated in past 
times by the Trees that made the coal that gives the tar, and they 
range from Dr. Berkeley's panacea tar-water to the aniline dyes ; 

* Longman'' s Magazine, April 1891, p. 630. 

Digitized by 


330 The Night of the Gods. \Axis 

from a powerful " acid " to the sweetest thing known — saccharin,^ 
In fact the Tree might be said to rival the celestial Bee "in 
furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are 
Sweetness and Light."* 

The Stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam from the Timber shall 
answer it ! — (Habakkuk ii, ii). 

FROM POST TO PILLAR, The connexion between the 
stone Pillar-idol and the tree Post-idol confront us continually ; 
and in the few citations I shall here make, we must include some 
sacred devotional statues. 

A rough post planted in the ground, a tree-trunk which was not 
even squared, was one of the earliest symbols or representations of 
Bacchus.* In Boi6tia was a Dionusos Stulos (root sta^ to stand) or 
post ; another at Thebes was called Perikionios (jcw>v^ pillar), and 
was a similar post ivygrown. In Thebes too was worshipped the 
piece of wood — Dionusos Kadmeios — ^which had fallen from the 
celestial ceiling into Semel^'s bed, and was bronze-covered by 
PoluDoros, a successor of Kadmos.* 

As art or artificiality gained upon rude man, a mask and the 
symbolic clothes of the god were hung to a real column with a 
Doric (forget not the connexion with hopv) capital. That was 
properly the god Stulos, and no doubt led up, or down, to 
St. Simeon Stylites and his compeers.* The title Dendritis, as 
contrasted with Stulos, appears to have applied rather to the tree- 
trunk origin of the post ; and then the bearded head of Dionusos 
was combined with the trunk.* Arms holding attributes were 
added, as was also the ^aX\o9 symbol of generation. All this con- 
nects the world-tree with the pillar. 

Movers pointed to something similar as regards the ash^rdh's passing, like 
the obelisk (p. 201), insensibly into the phallos. It was of wood, he said, and 
sometimes an upright pillar or phallus, and sometimes a tree.' 

M. Salomon Reinach has suggested an interesting point.* He says the 
first statues of gods appear in Druidic Gaul only during the epoch of the Roman 


' Swift : The Battle of the Books (1766 ed.) i, 149. » Max. Tyr. viii, I. 

* Paus. ix, 12, 3. Clem. Alex. Strom, i, 418. Eurip. Fragm, 202, 

* Minervini, Op, plate vii (see also p. 197 supra), 
" Braun, Ant, Marmor. ii, plaie 2. 

'* Guignaut's Creuzer, ii, 877. ■ Acad'mie des Itiscrijtictis, 15 Janvier 1892. 

Digitized by 


Myths^ The Tree-trunk. 33 1 

domination, and he therefore concludes that Druidism, like the Hebrew belief, 
was hostile to idols in human form. But it seems to me that the fact of Trees 
and Stones being the real deities would have ipso facto precluded any other 
representation of a deity but a tree or a stone. The megalithic monuments, the 
giant dolmens, menhirs, and so on, were surely very grandiose idols and temples 
in themselves. M. Reinach then alleges passages from Caesar and Lucanus which 
show that they in their time had made the similar observation that the gods of the 
Gauls were pillar-stones and tree-trunks. But I shall add that there is no proof 
that the stones were exclusively Druidic : the trees were. (See " The Gods of 
the Druids," infra.) 

An image of wood, about 2 feet in height, carved and painted 
like a woman, was kept about 1727 by one of the O'Herlehy family 
in the parish of Ballyvorny, co. Cork. It was called " Gubinet." 
Pilgrims came there twice a year, on Valentine's Eve and on Whit- 
Thursday, when it was put up on the old walls of the ruined church. 
The devotees then went round it on their knees, and prayed to be 
protected from the smallpox, bholgagh. People attacked by 
smallpox sent for the idol, as I shall call it, sacrificed a sheep to it, 
and wrapped the sheep-skin about the patient.^ 

There was, in Le Temps of 28th Jan. 1 892, an interesting account of the 
harmless necessary devotional-statue trade of Paris. Says the manufacturer to 
the interviewer: "You'll tell me that here and there in my show I strike 
an atrocious note, aesthetically. That's true enough, but they're for South 
America. Cast your eye on that St. Christopher down there, who's stark naked, 
with the great eyes in enamel ; that's a good sample of the models we export. 
Then again, for this other quite special line we use not papier-mach^ or compo 
bdt the wood of the lime-tree ; and on the lay-figures so made we drape our 
stuffs. Look here ! this is a Virgin just off to Lima. We've made her a red 
velvet mantle, starred with embroidery, which tots up to J[fio ; the dress itself 
with its waistbelt of paste-diamonds, costs in or about ;£36, and the under- 
clothing comes to a few fivers ; for, you see, these dressed statues are outfitted 
like real women : muslin chemisettes, bodices, and a whole set of petticoats 
stiffly starched for the great feasts, in order to fill out the dress. Silk stockings 
and ball-slippers go with this toilette. What wjth the enamel eyes, the wig, 
and the inserted eyebrows and lashes, the illusion of life is complete." 

When Elpfenor's ashes are buried (JDdyss. xi, 77 ; xii, 14) they 
pile a barrow over them and drag up thereon a stone pillar, and on 
the topmost mound they set the shapen oar. Likewise in the 
yEneid (vi, 232) the pious ^neas ingenti mole sepulcrum imponit 
suaque arma viro remumque tubamque (I must pass by tuba = 
tubus for the present). 

The junction of ati elegant column and a sacred tree, which 

^ Folly of Pilgrimages^ Dublin, 1727, 70. 

Digitized by 


332 The Night of the Gods. \Axis 

may be seen continually in the Pompeian paintings,^ is for me 
extremely symbolic and suggestive of the identity of these two 
cosmic axis-symbols. And Pliny when opining* that trees were 
the most ancient dwellings of the gods, wholly lost sight of sacred 
stones and b^th-fels, which, as readers of this Inquiry (so far) will 
probably agree, seem to have an ex aequo claim. The Olympian 
Doric temple of H6r6 was surrounded with stone pillars, but 
at the back part one of the pillars was of oak.' There is in 
Orissa a legend of the aborigines having worshipped a blue 
stone in the depths of the forest. The common people still 
have some shapeless log, or black stone, or trunk of a tree red- 
stained (see p. 301 supra) at the present day in every, hamlet of 
Orissa, and it is adored with simple rites in the open air.* 

" Saint Silvia " (regarding whom the famous question " Who is 
Sylvia, what is she } " still waits for an answer) seems to have 
made a pilgrimage to Mount Sinai in — as they say — or about 
385 A.D. She saw at **Rameses" a great Theban stone, unus 
lapis ingens Thebeus, in which two great statues were cut out 
(exclusae) [said, of course, to be Moses and Aaron, done by the 
sons of Israel]. There was also an drbor sicomori, planted by the 
same mythic pair, and called in the Greek the dendros alethiae or 
Tree of Truth, from which twigs were pulled by the sick.* The 
Editor, Rev. J. H. Bernard, points out that E. Naville in his 
Goshen (pp. 12, 20) quotes inscriptions on the Egyptian monuments 
of Saft, which speak of the Sycomore of Saft. Brugsch gives 

Nehi m 00 ^^^ as *' land of the Sycomore, a name of £gypt." 

The Roland-Saiilen are wooden or stone pillars, with a warrior's 
image on the top, which exist on the market-places of sotne 40 or 
50 towns of Lower Saxony. Hugo Meyer said* that these monu- 
ments are sometimes called Tio-dute, pillars of Tio or Ziu.^ It 
seems to me that we must look for the ideas of rolling and round- 
ness in the names of Roland and Roncesvaux ; and one cannot 
help suspecting a connexion between the German Saule pillar and 
the French saule sally. See the Irminsaule p. 292 supra, and see 
also the connexion of the holy Thorn with Roland, p. 325. 

* See the engraving in Saglio*s Diet, dts AtUiq, i, 360. 

' Hist. Nat. xii, i, 2. • Pausanias, v, 16. * Hunter's Orissa^ i, 95. 

* Pal. Pilgrims' Text Soc. 1891, pp. 89, 22 • Abhandlting iiber Roland^ 1868. 
' I take this from a valuable note of M Goblet*s Mig. des Symbolesy p. 339. 

Digitized by 


Myth$?\ The Tree-trunk, 333 

The Hubertus-stock also deserves mention here (and see p. 218 

We sometimes get the dual tree as a doublet of the dual pillar 
(P- 235 supra), as when Krishna, the new-born infant, uproots the 
two trees reaching to the heavens, between which he was laid.^ 
This is a Samson myth also, and an infant Hercules myth too. 
In an Egyptian funereal papyrus of the baser epochs Th. Deveria 
remarked the mummy of the deceased placed between two trees.* 

' Biirnoufs Bhdgavaia-purdna, ii, 7, 27, ? Cat, MSS, 1881, p. 143. 

Digitized by 


334 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

25. — The Christmas-Tree. 

THE YggDrasill Ash and the IrminSaiile are racially and 
geographically the great types and originals of the Teutonic 
Christmas-tree, which has spread so much in England since the 
marriage of our present Sovereign. 

The national importance in Germany of this survival of archaic tree- 
worship is well shown by Germania citing in December 1891, as a most 
significant and disquieting symptom of the economic crisis through which that 
country is passing, the one simple fact that more than 20,000 Christmas-trees 
remained unsold that Christmas in the Berlin shops alone ; and this was 
ndependent of vast numbers of such trees never unloaded off the railway 
trucks, when it was found there was no market for them.* 

But some authentic English records of similar trees are to be 
found. Twelfth-night or Holly-night (see p. 319 supra) was 
formerly celebrated at Brough in Westmoreland by carrying 
through the town at 8 o*clock in the evening a holly-tree with 
torches attached to its branches.* Another genuine native 
instance of the Christmas-tree was the Wassail-bob (that is, 
bunch) of holly and other evergreens, which was also corruptly 
called a wessel- or wesley-bob. It was put together "like a 
bower," hung with oranges apples and coloured ribbons, and 
sometimes enclosed a pair of dolls also decked with ribbons. It 
was still carried about on a stick on Christmas-day in Yorkshire 
(Huddersfield, Leeds, and Aberford) some 40 or 50 years since.' 

A very strange English relic of this tree-worship and of the 
artificial sacred tree is the Bezant of Shaftesbury (or Shaston), 
town of the Shaft, pole, or pillar. On the Monday morning before 
Ascension-Thursday the Bezant was carried in procession, accom- 
panied by a Lord and Lady chosen for the nonce, who from time 
to time danced a traditional step to a noise of music The Bezant 
is described as having been (for it came to an end in 1830) a sort 
of trophy constructed of a frame about four feet high, to which 
ribbons, flowers, and peacock's feathers were fastened, while round 
it were hung plate, jewels, coins, medals, and other objects of value 
lent by the local gentry for the purpose. In early times the 

> Le Temps, 31 d<^cembre 1891. « Hone's Table Book (1838), p. 26. 

• Brit. Pop, Customs, p. 484 (extracting from Notes and Queries), I shall also cite 
an article of mine in The National Observer oi 12th December 1891. See also "The 
Christmas Box " under *'The Arcana " infra. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Christmas-Tree. 


Bezant represented a considerable value, and Hutchins's History 
of Dorset (1803, ii, 425) says the " beson " or " b)'zant " Used to be 
sometimes valued at £\^QO, 

Its connexion as an annual custom with the neighbouring wells of Enmore- 
Grecn doubtless led to its being eventually regarded as a sort of feudal 
** service " for the use of the water of those wells ; and it was joined to a raw 
calfs-head, a gallon of ale and two penny-loaves, which must have represented 
an archaic sacrifice and sacrificial feast. The term Bezant would lead one to 
suppose an origin for the name of the coin so-called in some similar " trophy," 
" May," or " bezant " stamped upon an ancient piece of money. The Saracen 
bezant was otherwise known as the sol d'or, but there were also silver or white 
bezants of the Christian crusading coiners. In 1250 the golden coin was worth 
about j£9 of our money (Leber, 122). Chambers's Book of Days (i, 585) con- 
jectures altr6 that it was the coin that named the Shaftesbury trophy. We 
know indeed that in heraldry French knights used to put the coin on their 
shields when they had been to Palestine (Littr^), and that nummus Byzantius 
is supposed to be a sufficient explanation of the coin's name (De Beaumont) 
But byzantius is but an adjective which brings us back to byzant or "Qv^avr-uw, 
which is a cul-de-sac. It has suggested itself that we may also have the 
same word— whatever it be— in Tx^Hzond, which is also called Tarabozan, 
and by the Turks Tarabezfln ; the Germans say Trapezunt, and the French 
Tr^bisonde. But the ancient Greek was Tpoircfovf which merely tables us i 
another puzzle. 

And I am sorry to say I have to make a much more prosaic 
suggestion as to the Shaftesbury " bezant." Hutchins, as above, 
called it a *' beson." How would it be if this were nothing whatever 
but our own old homely besom, a broom ? The Middle-English 
was besum besme besowme ; AngloSaxon besema besem ; German 
besen, a broom, a rod. " The original sense," says Prof. Skeat, from 
whose never-failing Dictionary I am here quoting, "seems to have 
been a rod, or perhaps a collection of twigs or rods " — which by- 
the-way is an exact description of the Parsi baresma p. 337 infra, 
Wedgwood cited a Dutch term hx^m-bessen = broom-twigs. Besen 
and bessen get us easily to Hutchins's beson, and this may very 
well be, after all, the good old stay-at-home explanation of the 
fine-sounding bezant. 

The 13th-century AngloNorman poet "Guillaume, clerc de Normandie," 
which is his only name come down to us, wrote among other poems the satire 
called " Le Besant de Dieu." The besant, said M. Amaury Duval* was a gold 
piece struck at Byzantium, which crusaders on their return brought back in 
sufficient abundance to have obtained currency for its intrinsic value, in 
England and Normandy especially. The poet, taking the word in a meta- 
phorical sense, made it the equivalent of the talent of the New Testament 

Hist, Hit, de la Franccy xix, 661. 

Digitized by 


336 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

parable. It was in the end of this poem that he left us his name, as " Guillaume 
un clers qui fu Normans " ; but we feel more grateful to him for his brace of 
tales or fabliaux " La malle honte " and " Le pr^tre et Alison." I note this 
merely because anything that here throws a light, however feeble, on the bezant 
is not out of place. "** 

The Revue de Saintonge et d'Aunis for May 1892,' treating of 
" la Guillaneu " — the New-year feast — in the extreme West, quotes 
what we should call a carol, taken down in 1855 at Saint-Cyr en 
Talmondais, which contains the lines : 

Y at in dbre en les fouras {II y a un arbre dans les forits) 
qui passe les crates daux chagnes {des chSnes) 
queme les vergnes et les fragnes {comme . . . frines) 
passent I'aronde et le garas. {la ronce ei les guirets) 
Notre Seigneur on est le tronc ; {en) 
les ap6tres on sent les bronches ; {sont^ branches) 
chaque onge de ses ales bllonches {ange^ ailes blanches) 
fait deux feilles ontour sen front {feuilles autour son) 
M. E. Guionneau picked up at the Chateau d*01^ron in 1861 a 
variant of this : 

Dans la mer y at un arbre 
qu'on a jamais vu le pied. 
La bonne Vierge en est les branches 
J^sus-Christ en est le pied. 
Here we see again a new faith (p. 261 supra) picking over the 
rags (p. 10) of the old, and stooping low enough in the process. 
Note here too the clear tree-doublet of Mailduin's pillar, p. 193. 
And there is no doubt, I submit, that we here have a Christmas- 
tide hymn to the Universe-tree. 

It is strange to find a similar conception to the Christmas-tree 
in the myths of archaic Japan, where the adorable 500-fold Saka-' 
tree is uprooted on Mount Kagu in heaven by the gods, and hung 
with the sacred jewels, octagonal mirror, and blue-and-white 
peace-offerings to AmaTerasu, the Japanese PasiPha^ ; while the 
gods KoYane and FutoTama devoutly recite a grand ritual* The 
Cleyera japonica now does duty on earth for this mythical tree. 

I think too that a phase of the same fantasy may be also 
detected in the descriptions of the artificial haoma (see p. 289 
supra) generally figured as a sort of " May " made up of pieces of 
different vegetals, or greenery, bound together, we may perhaps 

* This is the Bulletin of the Soci^t^ des Archives Historiques, a remarkable society 
of which I have the pleasant honour to be a member. Its president is the weU-knoMrn 
able and hearty M. Louis Audiat. 

^ Chamuerlain^s Kojiki^ 56, 274. Sa-ka can archaically mean holy-place. 

Digitized by 


Myihs.^ The Christmas -Tree. 337 

take it, to represent the Tree of all Seed (p. 290). The Persians 
said F. Lenormant borrowed this from Assyrio-Baby Ionian sacred 
art, and it is so that the haoma is shown on gems cylirfders and 
cones of the time of the Achemenides.^ It follows from this that 
the similar mysterious and sacred plant, accompanied by celestial 
genii in attitudes of adoration, and worshipped by royal personages, 
which is so frequently found on Assyrian and Babylonian cylinders 
and bas-reliefs, must also be viewed as an artificial idol of the 
world-tree. Above the plant is often found what Lenormant 
called the symbolic image of the supreme god, that is the winged 
" disk " (which I maintain to have been the representation of the 
heavenly revolving sphere) surmounted, or not, by a human bust.* 

Lenormant made the ancient (Akkadian) name of Babylon, 
Tintirki, to mean Tree-of-Life,* and Dr. Wallis Budge translates it 

The Parst ritualistic baresma or bundle of twigs (now a bundle of 
utilitarian wires) is clearly an outcome of the Persian artificial haoma, 
and it has already afforded me a comparison for the beson or byzant. 

Forerunners of the Christmas-tree — to apply that name to all 
the modem types — must certainly be also seen in the trees loaded 
with all sorts of ornaments and sacred attributes, which, according 
to Lucian, were brought each spring, as symbols of life to be 
burnt in the temple of Atergatis (*Atar-'At^) at Hierapolis of 
Syria. Nay, a doubtless still earlier, because more closely natura- 
listic origin may be assumed in the great trees which the same 
Loukianos records as being loaded with goats, sheep, garments, and 
gold and silver objects hung to the branches, and burnt before the 
Syro- Phoenician gods at the same spring festival.* We still burn 
oUr Christmas greeneries at the expiration of the twelve days ; 
though I find that in East- Kent it is unlucky to burn them ; they 
must be " thrown out a' doors." 

A most important example of the " Christmas-tree " is the pine 
of Cybel^ and Attis on a bas-relief,* to which are hung bells, a 
syrinx or reed-flute, a pail, a wheel, and so on ; with sacred birds 
among the branches, and a ram and bull for sacrifice beneath. 
Pictures and other votive objects were tied to the laurel of Apollo. 

* Orig, de tHist, i, 78 to 80. 

* Ibid, i, 74, ^(iy 77. » Bahyl. Life and Hist, 14. 

* De Dea Syra^ 49. 

* Zoega, Basstril. ant, i, pi. xiv, p. 45. 

Digitized by 


33^ Tlie Night of the Gods. [Axis 

British Popular Customs (1876, p. 464) considered that the mobile oscilla 
suspended from the tall pine to Bacchus, with joyful hymns (in VirgiPs Georgics 
i» 389) " distinctly portrayed " the Christmas-tree ; and that the engraving 
"from an ancient gem representing a tree with four oscilla hung upon its 
branches " in Smith's Roman Antiquities^ " is an exact picture of a Christmas 
tree." But here we have, rather, the hanging and swinging of mock-human 
victims (see p. 327 supra). However, the connexion is undeniable. 

According to the Traipkoom^ the standard Siamese work on 
cosmogony, the Kalpavriksha (see p. 289 supra) grows in the 
Tushita heaven of contented desires, and produces everything that 
can be wanted, whether useful or beautiful : in fact it is the World- 
tree ; and connected with this are the practices of hanging gifts 
for the monks, at night, to the trees of their garden, and loading 
with limes and nutshells, which contain money and lottery-tickets, 
a frame-work made to represent the tree at cremations ; these 
kalpavriksha (karaphruk) fruits being afterwards scattered to the 
crowd.* The Siamese also, at the topknot-shaving of a youth, 
make standards about five cubits high, called Bai-Si. These con- 
sist of a central pole which is fixed into a wooden pedestal, and 
supports either three or five saucer-like tiers or stories formed of 
plantain-leaves ornamented with gilt and silvered paper. In the 
leaf-saucers are put cooked rice, cakes, other edibles, flowers, and 
so on ; and a big bunch of flowers tops the pole. These baisi are - 
placed in the midst of the assemblage, and a procession is formed 
which circumambulates them five times, or, if the ceremony be for 
a prince, nine times. This is clearly an artificial World-tree, and 
it also reproduces the royal terraced umbrella of Siam,* see p. 222. 

This tree is of course, in one form or other, as ubiquitous as 
tree-vegetation. Mr. Consul Bourne, under the date of February 
7th (1886), the period of the Chinese and Shan new-year festivities, 
writes that " in all the villages within reach of wood there was a 
12-foot fir-tree, without roots, planted in front of each door; 
making an avenue of the road — a new-year's custom."* This was 
near Ch*iao-t'ou at an altitude of over 6,000 feet 

The scavenger caste of Upper India pay reverence to the 
memory of Zaliir Pir,* alias Lai Beg. The emblem which they 
carry in procession is a tall bamboo gaily decked with scraps of 

' O. S. V. Osdllum, citing Maffei's Gent. Ant, iii, 64. 

« Alabaster's IVheelofthe Law, 216. • Ibid, p. 298. 

< Journey in S, fV, China. Parly. Paper C 5371 (1888) p. 28. 

' Compare this Pir with Pini p. 321, and Penin p. 194. 

Digitized by 


MylhsJ] The Christmas-Tree, 339 

bright-coloured cloth, and crowned by a huge brush of peacock's 
feathers at the top. Fans and bunches of cocoa-nuts are also 
slung to the pole, which cannot I fancy be regarded merely as " a 
glorified conception of the sweeper's broom."* But even so it gives 
us a besom or beson or byzant ! And I may very properly note 
here that a broom made of grass was the sacred symbol of purifica- 
tion in the great spring-cleaning ritual of archaic Japan called the 
harai or great sweeping,' and was waved towards the people by 
the chief priest. 

The Arabs adored the sacred date-palm (see p. 313 supra) at 
Nejrin in an annual feast, when it was hung with fine clothes and 
women's ornaments. There was a similar tree at Mecca on which 
weapons, garments, ostrich eggs and other gifts were hung. By 
the modern Arabs sacred trees are called mancLhil, places where 
angels or jinn descend, and are heard dancing and singing. They 
are honoured with sacrifices, and parts of the victim's flesh are 
hung on them, as well as shreds of calico, beads, &c.* This seems 
to connect the tying-on of rags with the earlier " Christmas-tree." 
The hangings or drapery woven for the ash^r^h in 2 Kings 
xxiii, 7 is thus also easily explained, and F. Lenormant considered 
it a figment of the cosmic tree.* 

The cosmic symbolism of this tree-idol may, I think be further 
demonstrated, and in a commanding way, from the * property '-tree 
which was carried at the laurel-bearing or daphn^phoria festival of 
Grecian Thebes (see p. 341 infra) and which might very fairly be 
called a Bezant. 

Professor G. Schlegel* cites from Maurer* an Icelandic legend 
that the Reynir (Rowan see p. 322 supra) covers itself on Christmas- 
night with lights which the strongest wind cannot put out. These 
night-lights are of course, initially, the stars on the branches of the 
Universe-tree. He also extracts from Wanglang's Antiquities of 
Thsin the statement that in the Chinese state of Thsin, previously 
to 247 B.C., a tree with a hundred flowers and lamps was placed on 
New-year's-night at the steps of the audience-hall, while outside 
the " correct gate " candles of five and of three feet were lit. A 
lamp-tree of agate, three feet high, is mentioned as an offering by 

• Capt. Temple's Legends of the Punjab; Mr. J. C. Oman's Indian Life, Social and 
Religious^ 1889. 

' Mr. E. M. Satow*s Ancient Rituals, in Trans, As. Soc. Jap. 

• Relig, of Semites, 169. ** Orig. de mist, i, 570. 

• In the Toung-pao, Leiden 1891, vol. ii, 5. • Islandische Volkssagen, p. 148. 

Y 2 

Digitized by 


340 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

one Tu Kwanglo in A.D. 652. There is another record, of our 8th 
century, that the famous princess Yang put up a " hundred-lamps- 
tree " eighty feet in height on a high mountain on New-year's- 
night In the poetry of the same Chinese T'ang dynasty is men- 
tioned " The dragon holding in its mouth the firetree whereon a 
thousand lamps are shining," which is obviously a cosmic image 
for the universe-tree, the celestial dragon, and the host of the night- 

In quoting these facts, as I am glad to do, from Prof. Schlegel, the able 
professor of Chinese at Leiden University, I should perhaps state that he seems 
inclined to connect them with sun-worship, but there I am totally unable to 
follow him. 

On p. 300 mention has been made of the French Trees of 
Liberty, and I now cite the following passage from a speech 
of Dan ton's in the National Convention on the very day, 21st 
January 1793, ^^ which Louis XVI had been guillotined : " Roland 
(whom he was attacking) a pens^ dans cette erreur, que le grand 
Arbre de la Libert^ dont les racines tiennent tout le sol de la 
R^publique, pouvait ^tre renvers^." Here we have clear Universe- 
tree imagery, but all Danton's enthusiasm cannot alter the fact 
that these arbres de liberty are always uprooted trees of many 
years' standing, uprooted and replanted for the occasion, in some 
spot where they rarely thrive. The occasion was, of course, 
archaically, a ritualistic one in Tree-worship, and the long life of 
the tree thereafter was not desired. 

I here desire to direct attention to the interesting and valuable chapter on 
" The Jewel-bearing Tree " in Mr. W. R. Lethab/s Architecture^ Mysticism^ 
and MythP^ It has much pleased me to find that, working quite unknown to 
each other, we have arrived at conclusions that sometimes approximate. This 
is the first opportunity I have found here of mentioning Mr. Lethab/s book, 
but I see he also treats of others of the subjects of this Inquiry^ such as the 
four-square Earth, the Centre of the Earth, the Labyrinth, the Gate, and so on. 
Having obtained his book at such a late period of my own work I regret that 
I have been unable to use it in any way. 

* London, Percival and Co. 1892. 


Digitized by 


Mytks.l DaphnS and AgLauros. 34' 

26. — The Myths of Daphne and AgLauros. 

THE Grecian daphnfe, as it is not difficult to show, was a 
similar plant to the Babylonian (p. 337 supra) ; and may be the 
geographically nearest European parallel we can now find for the 
sacred shrub so common on the cylinders and other West- Asian 
monuments. It is said to have been our baytree ; but that is most 
uncertain ; laurus (see p. 344) and daphn^ cannot both be bays. 

The leaves of the daphn^ were eaten by the diviners called 
daphnfiphagoi, to inspire them with the science of the gods ; 
branches of it were burnt in daphnomantia to get omens from its 
sputtering ; sleeping on a pillow of laurel-branches was similarly 
efficient in regard to dreams. Branches of the tree were placed at 
the doors of the sick to call the medicine-god Apollo. It was also 
the tree of Diana and of Bacchus, and the priests of Juno and of 
Hercules crowned themselves with this laurel. It was the tree of 
health ; it not alone purified and cured, but prevented and repulsed 
maladies and evil spells and influences. It was thought lightning- 
proof,^ and was planted before houses. The superstitious carried 
laurel-sticks, and put its leaves in their mouths ; so copying the 
Pythia, IIi;^*^?, or high-priestess of Apollo at Delphoi.' 

Under the heading " Magnus, Medea and Maia " (p. 149 supra) 
the artificial tree called " a May " is, I think, clearly connected 
with the month of May and the goddess Maja ; both the month 
and the tree having been called majus. At the daphn^phoria (the 
processions at the daphnd festival of the Boeotians, held every nine 
years at Thebes) an artificial tree or May (to which I have already 
referred, p. 336), formed of an olive-bough with garlands of daphn^ 
and other flowers, upheld a sphere of brass from which depended 
many lesser spheres. To these were given celestial meanings, and 
the large sphere was said to have represented Apollo ; but the 
youth of choice, magnificently dressed-up and wearing a crown of 
gold, who was the daphn^phoros or Jack-in-the-green, was more 
probably the true representative of the god. He wore shoes called 
iphikratides "from IphiKratos their inventor," and these shoes 
must be a fragmentary allusion to the solid planting of the feet of the 

' Pliny, Nat, Hist, ii, 56 ; xv, 40. Botticher, BatimkuU, 
* i^chylus, Agam, 1237. 

Digitized by 


342 The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

heavens-bearer, for t<f>i'KpaTo^ simply means "powerful-strong." 
They have also close variants in the shoes of Magnus and the 
brazen feet of Tal6s (see pp. 131, 142 supra). 365(?) crowns 
(or wreaths ?) surrounded the globes, and were said to be types 
of the heavenly revolutions. A near relative of this Jack-in- 
the-green preceded him bearing a rod twined with garlands, and 
he was followed by a dancing company of girls holding branches. 
The procession was to (or round?) the temple of Apollo called 
both Ism^nian and Galaxius. The last is clearly a reference to 
the ya\a^ia<; /cvxXo^y the Milky Tire or Way, and Ismdnos, is the 
river of knowledge (Jarjtiv^ to know) that issued from the footprint 
of Kadmos which, like the footprint of Buddha (see that heading 
in Vol. II.) must be taken to be at the celestial omphalos. A 
variant of this is Apollo giving his son Ism^nos the gift of oracles ; 
here too the mother of Ism^nos is Melia, who is no terrestrial sea- 
nymph as was said, but the daughter of the Cosmic god 6keanos, 
and brings us round to the Bees (or stars) of heaven ; for Melia 
was also the mother of the Meliai or Melian nymphs, the bees or 
stars, who altrS, according to Hesiod's account, were bom of the 
drops of blood from the mutilation of Ouranos by Kronos, which 
brings us again to the closely similar Japanese myth (see " The 
Heavens- River " in Vol. II.) in which Izanagi cuts off the head of 
Kagu-tsu-Chi (or cuts him into three pieces), and 8 gods are born 
of the drops of blood that fall from the weapon^ of mutilation. 
Another origin is of course asserted for the name Melia : that it means, and that 
she was, an ashtree. This in no wise disconcerts my argimients, for we 
have had plenty about the YggDrasill Ash, and the formation of woman from 
it (pp. 291, 31 1 supra) ; and how account for the name ftcXti; of the ash except as 
the koney (jifKi) tree ? And how then account for the fxtXtrj being the honey- 
tree, unless by viewing it as the Universe Ash (or other tree) on whose branches 
are the Bees, the stars, of the heavens ? But this will be driven home under the 
sub-head " Bees " in " The Heavens- River." 

This daphn^ procession was to commemorate an episode of a 
sort of triangular War-in-heaven between the iEolians or wind- 
gods, the Thebans (see Index), and the Pelasgians, whose founder 
Pelasgos was a "first man " like Kadmos. In this episode, which 
was a truce, we have Helik6n and a river Melas. 

The " nymph " Daphn^ was clearly a goddess of the Univcrse- 

* Chamberlain's Kojiki^ p. 32. Satow*s Pure Shintd^ 72. I shall just note here that 
Kagu-tsu-Chi = The Old Man of the (kagu = shining) Mountain (of the heavens). 
This will be developed under ** Kronos " in Vol. II. 

Digitized by 


Myths^ Daphni and AgLauros. 343 

tree. The Earth opened and engulphed her, just as it did 
Troph6nios, and a daphne-shrub sprang up ; Apollo thus en- 
clasped the tree-stem only. The disappearance of Daphne in a 
tree-bole is akin to the similar fate of the body of Osiris (see 
p. 306 supra). In Sparta she had divine honours, and gave oracles, 
as PasiPha^, that is shining-to-all ; a glittering-heavens name which 
also reminds of the famous device : " I am become all things to all 
men — roZ? iroATk y^ova rk irdvra^ which has been applied to the 
Roman Christian Church. 

At Delphoi Daphn^ gave famous oracles as Artemis, or as the 
daughter of Teiresias (the blind augur who understood the language 
of birds). Or, by a tradition Pausanias (x, 5, 3) records, G^ the 
Earth, the first owner before Apollo of the oracle of Delphoi, chose 
Daphnd as its very first priestess. In any case she may strictly be 
said to have *' moved in the uppermost circles " of the supernal 
gods. The giving of oracles by Daphnfe may also, and perhaps 
more satisfactorily, be considered as the giving of oracles by Apollo 
himself out of the daphn^ (laurel) of Delphoi, just as Zeus did out 
of the oak of Ddd6na. 

Hermfes had a son called Daphnis (the male counterpart of 
Daphn^) who was taught by Pan himself, the All-god, to play upon 
the flute (see Index). He was blind like Teiresias, and his turning 
to stone, when compared with Daphne's becoming a tree, gives 
another junction of the tree and pillar-stone. Apollo was called 
Daphnian, not perhaps from the encounter with the nymph but 
from the daphne-tree itself or from its Syrian shrine ; and Artemis 
(Diana) herself was called Daphnaia. (Artemis of course had other 
tree-names. She was Kedreatis at Orchomenos where her images 
were hung on the hugest cedars. At Ephesos she had her sacred 
olives and her oaks, and at Dfilos her palmtree, see pp. 210, 312 
supra). There was also a miraculously-produced daphn^ or laurel 
of Maia the daughter of Atlas and mother of Hermes. Lobeck 
quotes a text in which the laurel furnishes the wood for the fire- 
drill ;- which is quite accordant with the mystic functions of the 
Axis as here expounded (see " The Fire-Wheel " in Vol. II.). 

It will thus I think be seen that the myth of Daphn^ was 
eminently a cosmic Universe-tree conception. 

' i Corinthians, ix, 22. ' Lang*s Myih, Ritual, and Religion^ i, 159. 

Digitized by 


344 The Night of the Gods, {Axis 

A GLA UROS, LauruSy the baytree, is brought by philologists 
from a hypothetical daurus havpo<; hapFo<; = tree ; and the Old- 
Irish daur oak is alleged, as well as the Avestan dauru log. the 
Sanskrit daru, and the Greek iopv beam.^ But I think we have the 
word Kavpo^ in the name of ''AyAavpo^;, who seems to be actually 
called Aav/)09(?) on an ancient vase of Cometo which also shows 
the names of her sisters as 'Epae and Tlai/S....* 

Note well that both the Latin laurus and the Greek hax^vr\ are said by classi- 
cists to name our baytree; a conclusion that must be doubted. 
AgLauros PanDrosos and Hers^ were mixed up, as nurse-maids, 
with the birth of EriChthonios. The very intimate connexion of 
AgLauros, in her myth and ritual, with PalLas and with Hermes, 
both axis-deities, supports the theory that Ag + Lauros indicates 
the tree, beam, or shaft on which the agging (to coin a useful word) 
of the Universe was supposed to be carried on. 

The Sanskrit aj-, the Avestan az-, the Greek ay®, the Latin ago 
(move), the midlrish agaim, and the oldNorse aka, all have the 
same signification of ^r/V/«^/ and such is the meaning, in a Cosmic 
sense, which I apply to all the godnames and sacred words in Ag-. 
I say that the syllable indicates that the function of the god was 
the driving the agging-round of the revolving Cosmos. The 
Vedic word aja, goat, should thus mean the pusher, and may give a 
clue to the celestial goats. Ajma and ajman^ racing, which are also 
Vedic, seem to belong to the conception of driving-round the heavens 
as a chariot is driven with (drawn by) horses. We very clearly 
get the veering of the application of the root in Festus : Agasones 
(grooms), equos agentes, id est minantes : drivers, that is leaders, of 
horses. Ajira, swift, used of the horses of V&yu the wind-god and of 
the Maruts {RigVeda, i, 134, 3 ; v, 56, 6) must be referred to this early 
sacred sense. I even go so far as to say that ajra, a plain, in R F, 
V, 54, 4, refers to the plain of the high heavens (so frequently 
mentioned throughout this Inquiry) as being aj-ed, agged, round. 
Although it may look trifling, it is nevertheless important that Aja, Aya is the 
name of the mother of the " Quatre fils Aymon." This makes them the four 
Cardinal powers at once (see p, 157 supra), and their father Aymon the central 
power. It has recently been pointed out in the Gartenlaube that Goethe's 
mother was, by a household word, called Aja, from some domestic incident which 
recalled some action in this famous legendary tale. I suppose it is the present 
Hindi aya, a nurse. 

* Wharton's Etyma Laiina, ' Derembourg and Saglio's Diet. Aniiq. i, 986. 

Digitized by 


Myths,'] Daphn^ and AgLauros. 345 

And I suggest that this cosmic root ag is the real origin of 
£7^01; in the sense of sanctuary (or holy things), and of the £7ta 
arjUov or Holy of Holies in Hebrews viii, 2 ; ix, 3 ; oyta having 
been a title of the first tabernacle (tent of the heavens), and iyta 
07/0)1/ the innermost tabernacle inside the second veil of the heavens, 
where is situated the Ark of the Covenant (see also ** The Arcana'' 
infra). This is also the true and perfect explanation of the god 
Agonius (in Festus) who presided over things to be carried forward : 
Agonium etiam putabant deum dici praesidentem rebus agendis. 
AgaM^Dds (see p. 145 supra and "The Arcana" infra) is an alias 
of this god, as the Central-Driver-God. Recollect that the two texts 
I cite from Hebrews treat of the seat or throne of the Majesty, the 
Greatness, the M€7aXft)<n;i/?7 (see p. 148 supra) in the heavens, and 
of the true tent [of those heavens], which not man pitched but its 
Lord, who said to Moses, when he was about to set up the mimic 
tent : " See that thou make all things according to the pattern 
that was shown thee in the Mount" 

Mr. E. R. Wharton {Etyma GraecUy pp. 17, 18) makes aya- and dy- = fUyas great, 
in the words dya-poKrici, ay-ipcoKoSy dy-^v«p. Dr, O. Schrader approaches ^ycor, 
ayos to &{ofi<u and the Sanskrit yaj, worship dedicate offer = Avestan yaz ; 
and he makes "AKficav = Avestan asman, heaven. 

It thus would become immaterial to argue whether ayaOo^, 
good (with which compare ayd-Oeo^ =5 iqyd^Oeo'; holiest) first meant 
holy-god or urger-god : the one merely implies adoration of the 
other, and both apply to the same supreme central god, to whom 
the title AgathoDaim6n also belongs. Then the contested 
etymology of the agonalia in honour of lanus (root,;'^, to go), who 
opened the year, becomes easy ; so does the title agonus for the 
Quirinal (from Sabine curis [the axis-]spear) Hill, and the same 
title agonenses for the Salii^ priests of that hilL I have already 
explained the 'A7o/)a (p. 155) and Apollo Aguieus (p. 120) from 
the same root ag (see also the pul-agorai, p. 179) ; and I shall now 
add the Latin agea^ the deck or bridge of a ship, because it was 
thence the ship was driven (sailed and steered). 

And I further suggest that the root ^^^ and the Vedic^;'^', to 
sacrifice, are inseparably connected with all this — take for example 
the phrase Gratias ago ; and that that was why victims were called 
agonia (and this ought to be the true etymology of agnus, and of 
ayvo^ and &yvo^ also). I should very much like to squeeze-in here 
the arfok^a idol, and even the splendid dy-Xao^^ driving- rock (see 
» See " The Salii " section in Vol. II. 

Digitized by 


346 The Night of the Gods. [Ajczs 

" The Rock of Ages "). The priest-butcher's, the rex's, technical 
question at sacrifices was *'Agone?"; to which the chief- priest 
replied " Hoc age," and then the sacrificial blow was given. To be 
added here is the imperative exclamation *' Age-dum !" go ahead ! 
(in Festus) ; and I shall here ask the candid reader carefully to 
consider together in Festus all his words in ag- : some fifteen 
or so. 

Remember that the verb ago primitively gave axim, axit (in 
place of egerim, egerit), which puts beyond doubt the etymology 
of axis as coming from the same root ag; and the axis is that on 
which the Universe, and the chariot wheels, are driven. That is 
how I shall later on explain the Cabiric gods AxioKersos and 
AxioKersa as an archaic dual Axis-god (see " The Three Kabeiroi " 
in Vol. II.), a sexual pair of driving-gods, the impellers, the com- 
pellers, of the rolling heavens : 

Quae gelidis ab stellis axis aguntur (Lucretius vi, 721), 
where " axis " is held to mean the North Pole, though that seems 
by no means necessary. 

hyavri (compare dyaa>, I wonder) was the daughter of Kadmos and Har- 
monia, and was an ultra devotee of Dionusos ; Agfen6r {h^phf manliness ; 
.'. rfvoip = avfip) father of Kadmos and son of Poseid6n or AntEn6r (= fore- or 
first-man), is a primitive man-god who falls into the same long category, which 
I cannot exhaust here. 'AyyiAt<r-Tw was a name of Rhea or Cybeld, the mother 
of the gods, on Mount AgDistis, otherwise Mount Dindumos or Didumos, which 
last would imply twin or dual mountain or mountains(?). It was there that, 
after the deluge, stones were animated into men by Deukalidn. AgaMemn6n 
(memn6n = eternal, yLiv<a fUfivn to last) is another divine name for the central 
great entity or force (see p. 1 19 supra and " The Rock of Ages " in/ra). 

And one of my foremost contentions is that we are to see in all 
these gods in ag-, and in fact in all the Cosmic upholders as well 
as in the Cosmic movers, a recognition of the divinity of the Forces 
of Nature, of what scientific nomenclature now calls Energy, of 
what Schopenhauer's great generalisation called the Wille, the 
Ding an Sich of the All, as that All is revealed by our senses. 
" No one has ever contested," wrote Prof. Sven Nilsson,^ " that the 
Alfs, Vans, Dwergs and so forth, are not presented as Natural 
Forces in the Voltispa and the other chants of the Eddas*' 

To return to AgLauros. The Palatina laurus which stood 
before the palace of the Caesars (Ovid, Fast, iv, 593) has already 

* As^e dc la Purre^ 3rd ed. 1868, p. 295. 

Digitized by 


Myiks,'] Daphni and AgLauros. 3*7 

been mentioned (p. 43) as a representative of the Universe-laurel- 
tree. Tiz/ius, whom I maintain to have been an axis-god, was 
buried in a laurel-wood on the Aventine hill ;^ and Troja (which I 
call a celestial Trinidad) was the name of a spot in the Laurentum 
territory, where iEneas was fabled to have landed. 

In Ovid,* PalLas changes AgLauros into a stone, which is a 
further connexion of her with the Axis stone-pillar deities, and 
also another link of the Tree with the Pillar (see p. 330 supra). The 
petrifaction (which is a sort of doublet of that of Daphnis p. 343 
supra) took place near the lofty rocks with which we have to meet 
so often in this Inquiry — the fiaKpai irhpai (Herod, viii, S3) at the 
North of the Akropolis (again, see " The Rock of Ages "). The 
legend which makes AgLauros precipitate herself as a mediating 
saviour from the height of the akropolis is also often here paral- 

She was sworn by ;' and she had an important place in the ritual 
of Ath^n^ Polias (a title which is one more bond of PalLas to the 
Pole). It would even seem that AgLauros was the sole heroine, 
or goddess rather, of the irXvvrriptu^^ a washing-day {trXvvKo) or 
purification festival of Ath^n^ Polias, of whom she was also said 
(compare Daphnfi, p. 343) to have been the first high-priestess. 
Ath^nd was even surnamed AgLauros :* AgLauros had a son 
Krjpv^ (singer, herald) by Hermfes, and a daughter Alkippd {oKkt) 
strength?) by Ards. So said Pausanias and Apollodoros, thus 
making her the consort of supreme central Axis and Spear gods. 
In Cyprus, as Porphyry related,* her worship was conjoined with 
that of Ards, and a human victim was sacrificed to them with a 

In the Syriac version of the Theophania attributed to Eusebius,' it is stated 
that "at Salamis in the Cypriot month Aphrodisios (23 Sept. to 23 Oct.) a man 
was sacrificed to * Argaula ' the daughter of Kekrops and daughter-in-law of 
*Argaulis.' In one enclosure was the temple of Ath^n^, * Argaula,' and 
DioMddSs. He who was to be sacrificed, when his coevals had led him thrice 
round the altar, was stricken on the stomach with a spear by the priest (see 
"The Navels" infra). He was then wholly burnt on a fire. This custom 
was so changed that they sacrificed the man to DioM^D^s. Diphilos 
King of Cyprus changed this custom for the sacrifice of a bull." Here we 

' Festas, Taiium, Troja. ' Metam. ii, 708, 832. 

» Aristoph. Thesmoph. 533 (Schol). < Hesych. sub voce. Phot. Lexic. 

* Harpocrat. p. 4. • De Abst. Cam. ii, 54. 

' Dr. Lee*s translation, 1843, p. 119. 

Digitized by 


348 The Night of the Gods. {Axis 

have the triad of deities, but Hermes replaced by (not Ar^s but) the son of 
Ar^s or of TuDeus. Note the feminine but garbled form of AgLauros. 

AgLauros has been confounded in ancient and modem times with her 
mother Agraulos (5ypa chace ?) daughter of Aktaios {aKraufin move ?) — names 
which seem to classify themselves with the Atalanta and Kalud6n heavens- 
rotation myths. Cognate to this confusion was the making AgLauros to be one 
of the daughters of EreChTheus (who was thus equated with Kekrops) ; and 
the daughters of EreChTheus do as these three nursemaids of EriChThonios 
do. (See also what is said on this subject in " The Arcana ".) In Harrison and 
VerralPs recent and charming manual on the Mythology of Ancient Athens' the 
goddess is theoretically called Agraulos throughout Seyffert*s new Dictionary 
(1891) also calls her Agraulos (her mother's name) although giving the "grotto 
of Aglauros " on a plan of the Acropolis. But all this cannot I think be held 
to blot-out the indubitable and more frequent Aglauros. At all events I have 
with me here the Franco-Greco-decado-symbolo-Roman poet Jean Mor^s 
(bom at Athens, 15th of April 1856) who, in his Pilerin passiotU {\%^\\ has the 
lines : 

II lui faudrait la reine Cl^opitre, 

II lui faudrait H^lie et Mdusine, 

Et celle-lk nomm^e Aglaure, et celle 

Que le Soudan emporte en sa nacelle. 
The hieron of AgLauros was called the Agrauleion, probably 
after her mother, to whose cult she may have succeeded — as is so 
common with the younger divine generations. This hieron too had 
an underground communication with the Erechtheion which was 
the original sanctuary of Athdn^ Polias, EreChTheus and Poseid6n. 
It had three altars, and was connected by three doors with a 
smaller chamber, entered. from the North, on one wall of which were 
three windows and seven half-columns. The North side of the 
temple without had seven columns in front and one pillar on each 
side. Underneath was the cleft in the rock riiade by a blow of 
Poseid6n's trident. This may be all Polar. In the adjoining 
PanDroseion was the sacred olivetree of Athene. It is obvious 
that the whole of the extremely archaic myth has been much 
muddled, and one would incline even to the belief that PanDrosos 
(see "The Gods of the Druids") and AgLauros were once 
identical. The basket or chest in which EriChThonios was shut- 
up is treated with the analogous Moses-myth of Cypselus under 
the heading " The Arcana." 

If Hers^ and Drosos both mean only dew, might not one incline to the 
idea that drosos-dew was that tree-dew which we call honey-dew ? (But sec 
what is said under " The Arcana.") 

* MacMillan, 1890. 

Digitized by 


Afj^ihs^l Daphni and AgLauros, 349 

The -OS is a masculine termination both in AgLauros and 
PanDrosos, although all three are sisters in the myth; and it is 
acutely pointed out in Harrison and Verrall's Ancient Athens 
(p. xxxii) that the figures on an amphora in the British Museum, 
which seem intended for two of the sisters, are " drawn male not 
female " as to their robes. If PanDrosos could be viewed as an 
AUSproutage god^ it would suit me well enough. But it must not be 
forgotten that their father KiKpoy^ was a bisexual first-god, he was 
diphu^s or biformis, a man-woman or a man-serpent. In regard to 
the doubtful sex of AgLauros it may be noted too that the god 
AgDis-tis was also a Herm Aphrodite (Paus. vii, i8). 
[There are three sisters in the legend of M^lusine (see p. 149 su^ra), who is 
a woman-serpent on every seventh-day. They shut-up their father ElensLS 
king of A/daniSL in the mountain of Brundelois, which may belong to brontd, 

This duplexity. it may have been that gave tc€Kpa>ylr or Kexpo"^ 
its signification of duplicity as an " impostor."^ There was also a 
stone called St^iw;?.* Kekrops was autochthonous and a son of 
Earth. He was also son and successor of Aktaios, the first king 
(/. e. man-god) of Athens. Or Kekrops also founded Athens and 
the worship of Zeus Hypatos (the most high) and Ath^nd Polias 
— a pair who are here clearly a dual celestial polar deity. Kekrops 
also put up the first altar to Kronos and Rhea. He, or the Twelve 
gods (one of the earliest juries, and to be compared with the 
proverb about the Twelve Apostles, see p. 179 supra) arbitrated 
between Poseiddn and Ath^n^ about the possession of Attica, 
where she had planted the first olive and so gained her cause. 
Attik^ (? arra, fatherland) ought thus to mean figuratively the 
Earth? Kekrops was sometimes shown holding a branch 
{OaXXm ?) sometimes a very long spear topped unmistakeably with 
a large fleur-de-lis.* 

^ There is however x^pjcoyiff , tailed (from KipKos tail ?), cunning, a kind of ape or 
monkey, a grasshopper ; which suggests a comparison with oSpa^ grouse, and thence 
with the other ovpd (tail) words ; and even brings Ouranos and Cecrops together. (See 
pp. 23, 46, supra,) 

* Pliny xxxvii, lo, 57. • Darembourg and Saglio*s Dicf, Antiq, i, 987. 

Digitized by 


3SO The Night of the Gods. [Axis 

27. — The Gods of the Druids. 

THE Irish rendered drui, a druid, into Latin as Magus ; and 
inversely, when Christianity was coming in, Simon Magus 
became Simon Drui. The word also went into Anglo-Saxon as 
dry, a magician. 

The Druids of ancient Erinn maintained that they were the 
creators of the heavens and the earth, said O'Curry (ii, 21) ; and 
this is considered " privileged audacity."^ But I think that if we 
make use of the important leading fact that the Cabires, the Car- 
cines, Corybantes, and Sintians, the Curetes, the Dactyles, and the 
Telchines were, whether magician-priests or the gods of those 
priests, alike called by the same titles, we shall probably see in the 
Creator-Drui a god, and in the Man-Drui his priest 

** There are two kinds of gods," declares the Saiapai/ia- 
brdhmana? " first the gods ; then those who are Br^hmans, and 
have learnt the Veda and repeat it ; they are human gods." 

This general consideration seems effectually to disperse much of 
the mist which has gathered round the word * druid,' and to give us 
the true clue to the name of the druidical god, whose ayaXfia or image 
was said by Maximus Tyrius* to be a lofty oak : KiXroi, aifiovac 
fiev Aia* ayaX/ui Bk Ato9 kcXtckov vyjrrjXrf Bpv^. This also explains 
better why the **Dfa druidechta, god of druidism," of the Irish 
texts* was considered a sufficient mention of him, without giving his 
actual name (see also p. 331 supra). 

The terms druidical (druidechta) and druidical spells (geasa 
druidechta) seem indubitably to have straightly represented the 
words divine and divination in their (accreted) sense of enchantment, 
discovery of the occult, and so on. In fact it may be strongly 
suspected that the real origin of our word guess is nearer to this 
very geis (plural geasa or gesd) than to the Scandinavian or Old- 
Low-German from which Professor Skeat (without mentioning the 
Irish) deduces the word. In support of this, the reader is referred 
to the numerous passages about the gesa easily accessible in Dr. 
Joyce's Old Celtic Romances ;* and I quote the following from his 
** Fairy Palace of the Quicken Trees " (Rowan-Palace, Bruighean 

» Rh^s's Hib, Lects, 673. 

* Dr. Eggeling*s, ii, 341. • Dissert, viii (Reiske, i, 142). 

^ Rh^s*s Bib. Lects, 224- * Pp. 60, 61, 62, 189, 191, 281, 354, 5S7, 390. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Gods of the Druids. 35 ^ 

Caerthainn) p. i86 — " But the strange champion [Miodhach, a central 
power] answered Finn : * I now put you under gesa, which true 
heroes do not suffer, that you listen to my [enigma-] poem, and that 
you find out and explain its meaning ' ;" and this from " Dermat 
and Grania" (p. 339): "Then the steward [of Angus] laid me 
[Finn] under fearful bonds of druidical gesa to find out for him who 
slew his son"; which Finn does by chewing his thumb under his 
tooth of knowledge, and he practises similar divination at other 
times.^ Druidical art or spell is always divination* or enchantment* 
Grania placed Diarmait " under gesa and under the bonds of heavy 
druidical spells — bonds that true heroes never break through," to 
take her for his consort.* Thick mists in which men get lost were 
druidical, magical ; and men were made to forget by druidical 
spells which could be sent to follow after the absent* The virga 
divina appears as the golden druidical (fairy or magic) wand, with 
which Cian changes himself into a pig, and Brian changes his 
brothers into fleet hounds to pursue it, and afterwards changes 
himself and his brothers into hawks and into swans f or Eva (Aeife) 
changes the children of Lir into the four snow-white swans of one 
of the most pathetic fairy-tales in any tongue, while the king of the 
De Dananns changes her into a demon of the air until the end of 
Time/ The steward of Angus also thus brings his dead son to life 
as the boar of Ben-Gulban.* (All which last might have been 
mentioned under " Rhabdomancy.") 

The druids were consulted as to places fortunate to settle in,* 
just as fengshui is to this day similarly practised in China Coran 
the druid of Conn puts forth his power and chants against the 
witchery and voice of the Woman of the Mountain (bean-sidhe, 
banshee), and his power was greater than hers for that time.^* 
Mailduin goes to the druid Nuca to get advice <ibout building his 
triple-hide corrach, and a charm to protect him both while building 
it and sailing in it afterwards.^' Miluchradh, the daughter of 
Culand, the Hephaistos of the De Dananns, breathes a druidical 
virtue into the waters of a lake, in which all who bathe become old." 
Ddire of the Poems was one of Finn's druids.'* The giant 
Draoigheant6ir (Dryantore) was a druid with powerful magical 

* Rhjs's Hib. Lects, 194. « Ibid, 48, 266. » Ibid. 193, 369, 383. < Ibid. 281. 
» Ibid, 363, 365, 84. • Ibid. 44, 45, 65, 66. 7 Und. 8, 15. 

* Jbid,zZ9- • Ibid. 98. >" Ibid. 107 to 109. 
" Ibid. 116. " Ibid. 352. » Ibid. 277. 

Digitized by 



The Night of the Gods. 


spells, and the Fomorian giant Lobais was also a druid.^ The 
inhabitants of the celestial Land of Promise were " the most skilled 
in Druidic art."* There was a Coill-na-drua, Wood of the Druids, 
near Fermoy.* The giant of Antwerp is called Druon Antigon.* 
The title of W. Reynitzsch's book Ueber Truhten und Truhtensteine 
(Gotha, 1802) makes Druid = Truht, but the German dictionaries 
give Druid. 

Professor Rh^s draws drui from the Celtic word dru "which we 
have in Drun^meton {ApvvatfjUTiov?)y or the sacred Oak-grove, 
given by Strabo as tlie place of assemblage of the Galatians of 
Asia Minor." The Greek Spv<: is of course the same word ; but it 
may well be denied that Bpv<; (as is generally held in this connexion) 
originally meant an oak, or any other species /^r se of trees. Apv? 
equals Tree simply ; the Platonic idea of ** tree " if you will ; that 
is, cosmo-theologically, the Universe-Tree. And what is more, 
Tree and ApO? are identically the same word, and are the same also 
with Bopv a spear-shaft, which is a further identification of the Bopv 
of Kronos with the Universe-axis. Thus we have : 



Dru . 

. original sense tree rather 
than timber (Curtius). 

Avestan . . . 


. log. 

„ . . . 

dru . 

. timber. 

Sanskrit . 

dru . 

. timber. 

„ . . . 


. log. 

„ . . . 


. timber ; a species of pine. 

Celtic : Old-Irish . 


. tree and oak. 

Irish . 

darag, darog 

. oak. 


derw, ddr , 

. oak. 

"Teutonic type" . 


. tree (Fick). 

Teutonic : Gothic . 

triu . 

. tree, timber. 


tre . 

. timber. 


tre6 . 

. tree, timber. 


tra . 

. timber. 


trad . 

. tree. 



. "M^-wood." 

Danish . 

trae . 

. timber. 

Greek . . . 

dpvf . 

. fruit-tree, any tree, an oak. 

„ . . . 

h6p\j . 

. spear-shaft, beam. 

Lithuanian . 


. pine-wood. 

Old Slavonic . 


. tree. 

Russian . 


. tree. 

' Rhf s's md, Luis. 


41. • Ibid, 268. » Ibid, 224. 

* De Baecker, /fe/i^. 

Nbrd, France, 202, 

Digitized by 


Myths.'\ The Gods of the Druids. 353 

"That dpCf, Old- Irish daur, Sanskrit dm, Gothic triu, &c., are related is 
certain," writes Dr. O. Schrader, " and yet the question whether the original 
meaning was oak or tree hardly admits of solution."* But elsewhere he says 
that " the words which, though differing widely in their vowels, are noted for 
the presence of the consonants d-r^ mean sometimes tree, sometimes oak, and 
not unfrequently have even taken on the meaning of pine. Probably the 
l^rinmry significance of this stock of words in the original language was treeP 
And he reckons up : Sanskrit and Avestan dr-u tree, 0-Saxon druvo drevo 
wood, Albanian drd wood and tree, OHG trog wooden- vessel, Lithuanian derwk 
resinous- wood, 0-Norse tyrr fir, Dutch teer = tar, 0-Norse tjara = tar, Sanskrit 
dim wood, Avestan diuru wood, Greek hopv spear, Macedonian ^pvKKoi oak, 
Irish dair and daur oak, Greek Uv-hp-ov tree, perhaps =dp-t)f. 
Similarly busk in Norway now means any bush in general ; but 
among the peasantry its ancient meaning of birch-tree still survives.* 
And I shall here note down that al^tov axle axis and assis, ofira 
beech (= English ash) are now all put with Sanskrit aksh^ reach.* 

Apvfw^; is a forest not of oaks alone, and gave the diminutive 
surname Drymulus ; the bird Bpvo-KoXdTrrrj^ is a woodpecker not 
an oakpecker ; Spv-Treirij^ or Bpvmra or hpV'irerri^ is not a falling 
acorn but a ripe olive or any other fruit ready to drop ; hpv6<t>ovov 
is a kind of fern ; hpvo-irrepL^ is straightly the winged-tree (of the 
Universe, see p. 308 supra) ; and the plant drys was also called 
chamaepitys and drysites. 

One wonders that nobody seems to point out the inevitable 
connexion of Druid and Dryad (dryas, dryades ; S/jua?, hpvaZesiY 
Apva<; was a centaur who transfixed with a pole the giant or 
centaur or king of the Marsi magicians, Rhoetus (which must have 
a connexion with Rhea 'Pea the Earth) ; he was also a son of 
Ares or (according to Hyginus) of lapetos, the giant-father of 
AtLas; Homer (//. i) said Apva^ covered himself with glory fighting 
the centaurs of the mountains. He was also one of the LapiThai, 
or stone-gods, and joined in the hunt of the Boar of KaXvSdv. 
Apva<; was the father of the great Laivgiver, LukOurgos ; and as 
such warred against the gods. Again — it is all in the part — he 
was son to LukOurgos and killed by his father, who mistook him 
for a vine-stem, with a, blow of a hatchet. He is also killed by 

' Jevons*s Schrader's Prehist. Aryan Antiq. (1890) 138, 272. 
' VioXmhoe^^s* Buddhisme en NorvigCy Paris, 1857, p. 48. 

• Wharton's Etyma Graca and Etytna Latina, 

* The "Ajua-JpuaJec must, I think, be compared with "Ajua^o, a wain, " Charles's "- 
Wain. To say with Schrevelius that ufia- in the nymphs-name means ** coeval" with 
their trees, is unsufficing. "A/ia- in a Wain may refer to its paired wheels ; but Mr, 
Wharton in his Etyma Graca makes the word Ufie^a'^&fAa (together) + a|»v (axle). 


Digitized by 



The Night of the Gods. 


Hecatfi. The name of this god doubtless gives us the true mythic 
sense of Pliny's (xxxvii, ii, 73) "unknown precious stone" the 
Bpvtri^, which is not alone a close parallel to the Medea nigra 
(p. 142 supra), but brings the Stone and Tree together, as in the 
Irish myth of DiarmaiL Druas must be the chief of the Druades, 
and therefore one with the god of the Druids ; and I shall hert 
ask whether this does not enlighten the difficult Latin adjective 
drudus = fidus (see Fidius), amicus, amasius, with which the 
Italian drudo and the German traut should be compared. We 
thus have : 

Italian • 

; drudo, druda . 

a lover. 


. drudus 

fidus, amicus, amasius. 

Old Prussian . 

. druwi, druwis . 

belief (Fick). 


. druwit 

to believe (Fick). 

we must connect these with our own word True, as follows : 


. trau. 

to believe (Fick). 

" Teutonic type ** 

. trewa 

true (FickX 

Teutonic: Gothic 

. trauan 

to trust. 

M » 

. triggwa . 


w » 

. triggws . 



. tryggr, tr{ir 


Anglo-Saxon . 

. tre6w, tryw 

truth, fidelity to a compact 


. tre6we, trywe . 


English . 

. troth 



. true. 

„ . . . 

. trust, truth. 

Old high«German 

. triuwa 


w » 

. triuwi 


German . 

. traut. 



. treu . 



. treue 


Dutch . 

. trouw 

fidelity, faithful, true. 

Swedish . 

. tro . 


w • • • 

. trogen 


Danish . 

, tro . 

truth, true. 

Thus Tree and True would perhaps have a common root ; and 
the root of True would no longer be so "unknown" as Prof, 
Skeat says it is. The rationale of all this is what is so often 
pointed-out in the course of this Inquiry (Prithee refer to the 
Index) as to the immoveable central supernal position of the gods 
of Truth and of the Universe-Tree ; and the analogy here drawn 
is very much on all fours with that between ^7*09, ayaOo^ and the 
root ag on p. 345 supra. 

Digitized by 


Myths.\ The Gods of the Druids. 355 

With all these must be mentioned the Hindu god-name of the 
Polestar, Dhruva, and also Drupada the king of Panchdldi (which 
must be an alias for Xh^five districts of Bharata, which I maintain 
to be the revolving universe). The grandfather of Drupada was 
Soma-ka (see p. 290 supra). 

With the divine Dryads we must of course also connect the 
goddess Apvovrj, consort of H^raKl^s and mother of Amphissos by 
Apollo or AndrAimon.^ She is clearly a most important Universe- 
tree goddess, and her union both with Apollo and the man-god (?) 
Andraimdn may figure the heavenly and earthly presence of the 
Tree, while H^rakl^s must here be viewed as the Atlas whose 
place he often took. Druop^ offers crowns or wreaths to the 
nymphs of the lotus-lake ; but plucking a lotus-flower for her 
infant it drops blood, and the plant trembles with anger. Affrighted 
she tries to flee, but her feet have grown to the ground, the bark of 
the injured plant springs upwards around her, enwraps her whole 
body, and she becomes a lotus-tree. Here we have clearly, not 
alone a companion to the myth of Magnes as a fixed Axis-god 
(p. 142 supra), but a rooted Universe-axis-tree goddess, another 
Daphn^ ; a form of the footprint myths ; the sanctity and person- 
ality of the lotus-flower ; a blood-incident which is also perhaps 
adumbrated in the father's name AndrAimdn, and which reappears 
in the mediaeval legend of the eucharist-host ; besides the super- 
natural punishment of blasphemers against tree-worship. Another 
function of this great goddess was (in Homer) to be the mother 
of Pan by Hermes. Virgil (^n. x, 551) made her mother of 
Tarquitus (the name of a heavens- turning god), by Faunus. 
NowFaunus (= Pan ?) father of Latinus, was the son of Picus (= 
the pike or lance which is the Axis, s^ p. 40) the son of SaTumus 
(= Kronos). Faunus had also a daughter Dryas ; which is another 
indubitable connexion of Faunus (= Pan) with ApiJa?, the Dryades, 
and (I venture to assert) the Druids. 

Fauna, alias Fatua and Marica, the Bona Dea, sister and wife of 
Faunus (alias Fatuus) and daughter of Picus, was also an alias of 
Cybel^ ; and Fauna has been equated with Juno Sispita (or Sospita, 
Saviour). Faunus and Fauna as Lares make the Lares the 

* This word contains an oblique case of avrjp ; and the genitive av-dphs includes, I 
surest, a recognition of the myth that men came from trees (see p. 310 su/fra, and 
Eu Andros just below). All the words in dvdp- assume from this point of view a strange 

Z 2 

Digitized by 


35^ Tlie Night of the Gods. {Axis 

supremest of gods. The descent of Faunus on earth (so we read 
his passage to Italia from Arcadia, the Northern heavens, see 
Index) was celebrated in the Faunalia of February ; and his 
reascension in the Faunalia of November or December. His 
altars were said to have been honoured even in the mythic times 
of the man-god (?) Y,vkvhpo% (another Italian immigrant from 
Arcadia). Incense was burnt at those altars, oblations of wine 
made, and sheep and kids sacrificed. The Fauni (man-goat or 
ram deities) to whom the pine and wild olive were sacred, and who 
played the flute, were identified with the Panes and Ficarii. 

F. Lenormant^ makes the suggestion that the god Apvo^ of 
Asine (Pausanias iv, 34, 6) is the same as Zeus Triopas, Hellanicos 
having used the name Apuoip* instead of Tpioyfr. This (see below) 
may not be impossible, but Lenormant, according to his wont, was 
here arguing ethnically only. The fact that the Dryopes people 
were said to be a branch of the Pelasgians* or of the Dorians (spear- 
gods) merely endows them with the stupendous mythic age of their 
gods. The name LaoGoras, of the king of the Dryopes killed by 
H^raKles, may (see pp. 119, 120 supra) indicate a stone-deity, but 
to test that thoroughly one would have to run down the myths of 
all the deities and words in Lao-, and there is no time for that just 

To these may be added as druidical gods, Zeus EnDenDros and 
Helenfi DenZ^ntis in Rhodes, and Dionusos EnDenDros in 

The nymph Drymo {Georgics iv, 336) must also be named ; and 
the term ApvficoBrj^ Drymodes or Sylvosa, for Arcadia. Also the 
feasts to DeM^t^r Thesmophoros (Law-bearer) at Apvfiia, Apv/Moia 
or Apvfio<: in Phocis. 

The name IldvApoa-o<: must be of the Bpv^ family, and would 
thus one fancies indicate the Universe-tree deity (see p. 315 supra). 
It was within the enclosure of her sanctuary, the PanDroseion that 
stood the walled-round sacred Olive {iKaia 7rayKv<f>os:) which Ath^n^ 
made to spring suddenly from the Earth by a tap of her spear.* 
There too was the well of holy salt water, or hole of the trident. 
The PanDroseion opened to the North, and was next the sanctuary 
of Ath^n^ Polias ; and both deities were conjoined in worship. 

* Art. Ceres in Daremberg and Saglio's Dut, Antiq, i, 105 1. 

' Jbid. 102 1, 1025, 1033. 

' P.1US. ill, 19, 10; and Hesychius (Endendros). * Botticher : BawnkuU, 107, 231. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Gods of the Druids. 357 

PanDrosos was sworn hy} Her sanctuary also held a statue of 
Thallo, who was sacrificed-to with PanDrosos. If Thallo be con- 
nected with daXXo9 a branch, it seems to be one more proof of the 
tree-nature of PanDrosos. The masculine form of the word Pan- 
X^xosos is remarked upon at p. 349 supra, and it is suggested that 
PanDrosos was originally the equivalent of AgLauros. Their rock- 
sanctuaries the Agrauleion and the PanDroseion communicated by 
a fissure. 

A/)i;9 in Thrak^ was founded by IphiKrat^s (= almighty-power); 
which merely means that the Universe tree-axis was placed by the 
chief force of the Cosmos. The description which Theopompos 
gave of IphiKratfis belongs here : " he was huge in mind and body, 
and of such imperial form that the very sight of him inspired 
wonder. But in labour he was no way remiss, nor in patience 
thereunto."* This is clearly allegorical (see also p. 342 supra). 

Perhaps it is somewhat venturesome to follow bpv^ into ^Odpva-tos a surname 
of Boreas, the north and the north-wind. It was also a surname of Bacchus 
and of Orpheus. The origin of the original noun would have been 'O-ApCr, if it 
be permissible so to divide the word ; but there is also found on coins "Odpos ; 
and *oBp6rfs exists* as well as ^Odpwrcu as a name of the Thracians, whose god 
^Odpvs (or^Od/joy) must have been. As to *0-ApC£, why should not a tree-god 
have been male as well as female? Clemens Alexandrinus* wrote that the 
Kithair6n mountains of Boeotia (where Pentheus and Aktai6n died), and 
Helik6n, and the mountains of the Odrusai, and the initiatory rites of the 
Thracians, mysteries of deceit, were hallowed and celebrated in hymns. Then 
he says (ch. ii), that the Phrygian Midas learned cunning imposture from 
Odrusos ; and again that (as above) Orpheus was an Odrusian, and that wise 
men were honoured, and philosophy cultivated publicly by all the Brahmans 
and the Odrusai and the Getae.* 

And it is as well to add here another extract from Clemens, who says : 
"The Gerandruon, once regarded sacred in the midst of desert sands, and the 
oracle there gone to decay with the Oak " (tree ?) " itself— consign these to the 
region of antiquated fables." The dictionaries, picking up the idea of decay, 
say that ytpavhpvov is " an old tree or trunk ; from y/pwy-dpvr," thus completely 
sinking the termination -ov. And the commentators (for Shakespeare does not 
monopolise them all) say " what this is, is not known ; but it is likely that the 
word is a corruption of Upav-bpxiv^ the sacred oak." Clemens clearly had in his 
eye a tree-oracle in an oasis, and it is more likely perhaps that the word really 
means the temple of the Crane-tree yipopos-dpifs. 

But these chips and my occupation of hpxrropo^ must here for the present 
come to an end ; else will the reader become a ApvoXor, a proper name which 

* Aristoph. Thesmoph, 533 (Schol). ' Theopomp. /«r^. 117, 118, 175. 

' Steph. Byz. 507. ^ EKhortn, to Hellenes, ch. i. 

' Stromaia, i, ch. 15. 

Digitized by 


358 The Night of the Gods. 

the old dictionaries used woodenly to render : " one who has had enough of 

At the end of this Tree section has to be written down a humiliating con- 
fession. I have not read Mr. Eraser's famous Golden Bough, When that book 
came out, this section was already in manuscript, and the (doubtless trivial) 
resolution was formed- not to read Mr. Eraser's book until I had, as it were, 
burnt my ships by getting into print Now, at length, will come the great treat 
of its perusal. 

[Want of room in this Volume has enforced the temporary 
exclusion of the Sections on the Bridge, the Dogs, the Boat, and the 
Ladder {seep. 4).] 

Digitized by 



Polar Myths. 

I. — The Navels. 

2. — The Rock of Ages. 

3. — The Arcana. 

4.— The North. 

5. — The Eye of Heaven. 

6.— The Polestar. 

I. — The Navels. 

THE self-styled Middle-Kingdom of the Chinese is familiar to 
all the world : not so one of the ancient names for Japan, 
Ashi-hara no naka tsu kuni, the middle-kingdom of the Reed- 
plain, which lies on the summit of the globe.^ Japan was also the 
centre of the Earth, under the pivot of the vault of the heavens.* 
The Avestans dwelt in the middle Karshvar (later Kfishvar) of the 
world, which answers to the Indian central Jambu-dwipa,* where 
the axis-tree Jambu g^ows-up, see p. 289 supra. In the Rig Veda^ 
amrtasya nAbhim is the navel of the heavens, and n^bhir prthivyAs 
the navel of the Earth. The one, the holiest supernal spot, is 
directly over the other, the holiest terrestrial shrine.* The Chinese 
terrestrial paradise at the centre of the Earth is directly underneath 
Shang-Ti's heavenly palace.* Surely all this imagerj'^ can be 
puzzled-out only by the key supplied from the respective positions 
of the celestial and terrestrial Northern poles. And thus, as there 
were two Pillars (see p. 235) so there were two Navels. 

The Swarga-dw^ra or heavens-gate at Puri (compare with " The 
Dokana " supra) is the mystic navel of the Earth.' The Roof-of- 

' Mr. Chamberlain's Kojiki, 37. Mr. Satow*s Pure Shintt^ 68. 

* MetchnikoflTs V Empire Jap, 1881, 265. ' Geiger's Iranian Civilisaium^ i, 129. 
^ ii, 40, I ; iii, 29, 4. * Dr. Warren's Paradise Founds 2ii. 

• Chinese Recorder ^ iv, 95. 7 gir W. Hunter's Qrissa^ 84, 144. 

Digitized by 


3^0 The Night of the Gods. [Polar 

the- World, the Bam-i-Dunia on the Pamirs, is also called the heart 
and the central boss of Asia. Odusseus was detained by Kalups6 
the daughter of AtLas — is kalupsd = xaXov v^09, holy height ? — in 
the island of Ogugia, the navel of the Universe-Ocean,^ 6fKf>a\6^ 

If this island, like most mythic "islands" in all cosmogonies, be figurative 
of the Earth (see p. 33 supra\ then we ought to find in w-yu-yia the words 
yvjjsj plough-tree (? Earth-axis), and yala yrj Earth (but see p. 32) ; yvrfs also of 
course meant field, tract of land ; and so did yva yvjj yvla, which last may 
rather be the yia of 'Oyvyto. If this be any approximation to the real etymology, 
then the names 'Qyvyrjs and riJyi;^ would have to range themselves under the 
same head 

The nombril of white stone in the temple at Delphoi was the 
6fi<l>a\bf: T^9 7^9. 

" But that which is called by the Delphians the Omphalos," wrote Pausanias 
ix, 16) "and which is made of white stone, is, as they say, the middle point 
of the whole Earth." Elsewhere he had written (ii, 13) " Not far from the 
agora of Phlious there is a place which is called ^OfKJxikbs, and which is the 
middle of all Peloponn^sos, if their reports can be depended on." 
Then we have also the Vedic Agni standing at the Navel of the 
Earth ; as in Wilson's RigVeda: "thou Vaishw^nara (/. e. Agni) 
art the navel of men, and supportest them like a deep-planted 
column;" "Agni, head of heaven, navel of earth" (i, 157). 
Nibhi and Meru are even the parents of Rishabha, who is again 
the father of the great Bharata and of 99 other sons. According 
to Garcilasso de la Vega,* Cuzco, their capital, meant * navel * in 
the special language of the Incas ; the Chickesaw Indians believed 
Mississippi to be in the centre of the Earth, and the " mounds " of 
the country to be navels.' Jerusalem was believed to be the exact 
centre of the earth, and long passed as its navel ; and so did 
Babylon, Athens, Delphoi, Paphos, and other places, not forgetting 
Samarcand, which is the Turkoman central focus of the globe,* and 
Boston (Mass.) which is reputed the hub, the nave, of the universe. 
All these may very well be offshc^ots from a lost primeval cosmic 
conception, which I am here endeavouring to make "clear, of the 
northern terrestrial navel or nave, which turned on the cosmic 
axe-tree (see p. 289). 

The Navel, nabhih, became in the Vedas, by (as will presently 
be seen) a natural extension, first the Altar^ and then its sacrifice ; 

» Odyss. i, 50. ' HisL of the Ymas, book i, ch. 18. 

' Schoolcraft, i, 311. * Vambery*s Fa/se Dervish^ 188 (French ed.). 

Digitized by 


Myths ^ The Navels. 361 

the centre of worship being attracted-by and assimilated-to the 
centre of the worshipped. Agni too, the sacred Fire, the mes- 
senger also of the gods, was present on the sacrificial altar-navel as 
well as at the nave of the wheel, of the fire-wheel, the navel of the 
heavens. Under the head of "The Wheel" in Vol. II. I dwell at 
greater length on the Touraine altar placed-on and turned-about 
on a cart-wheel, while the priest gave his benediction. And it 
seems to me that the terms nave of a wheel and nave of a church 
are thus of identical origin ; the derivation of the latter nave from 
navis a ship being fantastical merely. Naii is the Vedic Sanskrit 
for ship (n^vah, v, 54, 4 ; naCih, v, 59, 2, said of the Earth ; daivim" 
nav^m (into) the divine boat, x, 63, 10.)^ 

One may however discern another (and not antagonistic) origin for nave (of a 

church). Professor Alfred Holder in his forthcoming Alt-CelHscher Sprachs- < 

ch^z thus deals with the word *ndmes, the heavens : " ♦nSmes himmel^ s-sf.y 
nom. ♦nem-os, gen, ♦nem-es-os, air, nem = ♦ne^mas, gen. nim-e, gael. neamh, 
m.ygen. neimhe, alley, nem, w. com. nef, w., pi. nefoedd, bret. \xi\€viy {Uon\ 
ncvypl. nevou, ai. ndmas inclinaHo^ adoralio.^^ 

This suggests too that v4fita'ts, as the wrath of the gods, had a similar origin 
with nimas, adoration ; Timor the great godmaker having been here also at 
Dr. O. Schrader attacks the difficulty thus : 

Indo-Greek n4v- niv6, tree-trunk / ^^ ">°'' sf^ef-tree tnink, temple. 

. I Gk. or Indo-Gk. vaw, dug-out, skm. 
So taking for his fulcrum the dug-out idea of a boat and wholly ignoring the 
stone idea of the deity-container, the b^th-fel (see supra pp. 1 1 1, &c.). But the 
Odyssey (xix, 163) remembered the two beliefs : " Thou art not sprung from the 
oak (or tree — diro dpv6s) renowned in story, or from a rock." And Dr. Schrader 
adds : "the question as to the root of this stem may be left undiscussed"; but 
I am not inclined to throw up the sponge just yet awhile. 

The A/lar became even the extreme point of the Earth in its 
relation to the heavens, the essence of the earth, the earth itself; 
as will be seen from the following passages of the Rig Veda 
(Wilson's version) : 

Mighty Agni, stationed on the navel of the Earth, in the form [? structure] of ^" 

the firmament ... the friendly and adorable Agni who breathes in mid- 
heaven. {RV. ii, 333.) I ask what is the uttermost end of the Earth ; I ask 
where is the navel of the world. This altar is the uttermost end of the Earth ; 
this sacrifice is the navel of the world (ii, 138).* Agni placed by strength [that is 
by motive power in wood-friction] upon the navel of the Earth (ii, 76). Scenting 
the navel of the world [? the burnt offering] (ii, 1 88). Present oblations in the three 

* Vedic Hymns, 489, 249. 

' It seems quite ** on the cards" that ** the ^«/ of the world being to be burnt by 
fire " may be connected with garbled versions of these ideas. 

Digitized by 


Z^2 The Night of the Gods. [Polar- 

high places, upon the navel of the Earth [probably the three sacred fires and the 
altar] (ii, 218). Agni as an embryo [in the wood] is called Tanunap&t (iii, 36). 
In the extremely archaic ritual for HindQ cow-sacrifice, one spot in the sacri- 
ficial enclosure was called the Northern navel, uttaranibhL (Rijendralila 
Mitra's Indo-'AryanSy i, 370.) 

The Russian Abbot Daniel, in his pilgrimage to Jerusalem 
A.D. 1 106, says : Behind the altar, outside the wall (of the churcli 
of the Resurrection) is the Navel of the earth, which is covered by 
a small building, on the vault of which Christ is represented 
in Mosaic, with this inscription : " The sole of my foot^ serves as a 
measure for the heavens and the earth." It is still shown in the 
Greek church, Catholicon.* It is mentioned as the Centre of the 
Earth by Bemhard, and as a place called Compas by Saewulf 
(A.D. 1 102). Arculfus in A.D. 670' said Jerusalem was in the 
middle of the earth, and that the Psalmist's " 6I is my king of old, 
working salvation in the midst of the Earth" (Ixxiv, 12) referred 
to Jerusalem which, being in the middle, is also called the Navel 
of the earth. 

A quite independent remark of Prof Robertson Smith's comes 
in well here. " The [Semite] altar " he says, " in its developed 
form as a table or hearth, does not supersede the pillar ; the two 
are found side by side at the same sanctuary : the Altar as a piece 
of sacrificial apparatus, and the Pillar as a visible symbol or 
embodiment of the presence of the deity."* If we take the 
Universe-navel, as above, to be the type of the altar, and the 
Universe-axis to be that of the pillar, their subsistence side by 
side seems to require little further elucidation. Where fire-sacri- 
fices prevailed, Prof Robertson Smith points out that " the altar 
was above all things a hearth,"* that is a fire-place. Here we have 
again a point of contact between the fire-god Agni and the nabhi 
or omphalos, as in the above Vedic citations. 

THE NAVEL HEARTH-FIRE. To return to the very 
important and central point I have already made a start with at 
p. 280, it seems indisputable that the sacredness of the Hearth-Fire 
may be connected in another very satisfactory and archaic way 
with the Altar-Yxr^y as thus. The hearthstone, and the fire on it, 
were at the centre of the archaic round hut, the central opening 

» See " Buddha's Footprint" in Vol. II. of this Inquiry. 

' Pal. Pilgrims* Text Soc 1888, pp. 13, 96. » Ibid, 1889, p. 16. 

< Kelig, of Semites, 187. » Ibid. 322. 

Digitized by 


My/As.] The Navels. 363 

right over the fire being the chimneys-hole. Thus the stone of the 
hearth was a navel, as well as the stone of the altar was, and when 
the Father of the family was its priest as well, both stones were 
identical. It was (as I maintain p. 270 supra) the terrestrial 
counterpart of the celestial heim-dall, the home-stone of Norse 
mythology. The hideous English "omamints f yir fiyer-stove" 
were once, doubtless, holy ritualistic hearth-decorations ; and the 
shrieking sisterhood that hawk them about are a warning to us of 
what the Vestal virgins had to come-down to. 

Then the €<rTui, eV;^a/)a, focus, was in the centre of the 
primitive enclosure (JipKo^, herctum), and later in the centre of the 
group of buildings which formed the home-stead. iEschylus 
{Agam. 1025) has the exact expression I want here : ^^ao^^oKo^ 
ioTia. And the stranger or the fugitive who could get in peaceably 
so far, and then sat him down on the ashes of the focus, became ipso 
facto inviolable, and had to be protected. This is precisely 
Orestes taking refuge at the Omphalos,* to which we shall return 
presently. In the same way Odusseus, as a stranger entreating 
help (Odyss. vii, 153, 169; xi, 191), sat down in the ashes on the 
hearth of Alkinous, and was then brought forward and set 
in a high place. The Grimms cited this last in their notes on 
Aschenbrodel (Cinderella), but fell short of the truth in adding : 
"It was a very ancient custom that those who were unhappy should 
seat themselves among the ashes." 

We can get further into the arcana of this leading question by 
taking what Pausanias said (v, 13, 14 and 15 ; ix, 1 1) of the gigantic 
altar of Zeus at Olympia, the main structure of which was 125 ft. 
round, and 32 ft. high. The altar proper, like the altar in Pergamos, 
was formed of the heaped-up ashes of the thighs of the victims 
there burnt. The altar of the Samian H^ra was, he added, also 
made of ashes. That of Apollo at Thebes was called Spodios, 
ashen, for the same reason. But there was another source for this 
holy material, for the Hestian (Vestal) hearth at Olympia, where a 
perpetual fire was ritualistically imperative, was also of piled-up 
ashes, and from that hearth they carried the ashes to the altar of 
Zeus, and that was by no means the smallest contribution to the size 
of it When the Father of the family was a priest, the hearth- 

^ Cliimney really means hearthstone. Chemin^e » caminus ^ KOfuyos = in Old 
Slavish kamini stone. (Wharton's Etyma Grncca and Latina,) 
' E. Saglio in his great Diet, i, 347. 

Digitized by 


364 The Night of the Gods. [Polar 

ashes were those of the grilled or burnt victims as well as of the 
perpetual fire. 

I must not be decoyed here into some interminable disquisition 
upon Fire-worship, but it must be stated that in Avestan times 
(and still among the modem Parsis) a mixture of the ashes from the 
Bahr^m fire mixed with the gdm^z of the bull (which is also navicular, 
see p. 380 infra\ was drank in 3, 6, or 9 cups as a charm by women 
in (AvX^birth} In Numbers xix we have the ashes of the whole- 
burnt red heifer mixed with water and used as a purifier by the 
Jews. The incense-ashes from the Chinese "joss-sticks" (joss = 
Portuguese dios) are full of virtue, and are worn round the neck in 
sachets).* The daily bhasma-dh^rana rite of the Brahman of the 
present day consists in, after bathing, rubbing ashes taken from the 
holy domestic hearth on the head and other parts of the body, with 
the prayer: '* Homage to Siva (Sadyo-j^ta). May he preserve me 
in every birth. Homage to the source of all births The pious 
HindO Siva-worshipper also makes his sect-mark on his forehead 
with the same ashes.* 

. The purificatory ashes-rite survives also both in the Roman and 
the Greek christian churches on Ash- Wednesday, Cinerum dies, 
when a cross is made on the forehead of the penitent with the 
ashes from the blessed palms and olive-branches of the previous 
year's Palm-Sunday or Branch- Sunday,* burnt for that purpose, 
and applied with the formula : Memento homo ' quia pulvis es, et 
in pulverem revert^ris ' {Gen, iii, 19). The celebrating Cardinal who 
makes the ash-cross on the pope's head is silent, and the pope 
speaks the formula.* We shall have the use of the blessed ashes 
again in the consecration of churches under " The North." 

We have this issuing- from and return to ashes — to the ashes of 
the navel-hearth — strikingly preserved to us in the Russian Ivan 
legends and the German Aschenbrodel (Cinderella) tales. The 
mythic Ivan son-of-the- Ashes (= Popyal-oflQ was ably discussed in 
the late Mr. ^dXsXoViS' Russian Folk-Tales, Ivan was one of a triad 
of brothers — the other two are left nameless — sons of an Old Couple, 
a pair of ancient gods, of course (see p. 296 supra). But another, a 
sort of Phoenix genesis is also given to this Russian John or ** Jack " 

* Darmesteter's Zend Avesta i, 62, Ixxxviii. Note the navicular connexion here too. 
» De Groot, FeUs ctEmoui (Amoy), p. 8. 

' Sir Monier Williams, ^^/. Thought and Life^ i, 400. 

^ Dominica palmarum sen ramorum ; Dominica in palmis seu in ramis olivanim. 

* Hierolexuon (Roma, 1677), pp. 155, 434. 

Digitized by 


Mytks.l The Navels. 3^5 

in one tale, where it is said that for " twelve (zodiacal) whole years 
Ivan lay among the ashes (from the stove) ; but then he arose and 
shook himself so that six poods of ashes fell off him.*' Here we 
notably have the hearth- or navel-fire, and perhaps a figure of the 
Northern winter. This Ivan was manifestly a potent heavens-god. 
" In the land in which he lived, there was never any day but always 
night." He was therefore a night-heavens god too. The triad of 
brothers kill the j£r-headed Snake, " and immediately there was 
bright light throughout the whole land.** Ivan performs endless 
feats of adventure ; we have had him already, and shall have to 
return to him. 

Now it is this legend that must give us the true clue to the myth 
of Cenerentola, Cendrillon, Cinderella (whose shoe we shall discuss 
under " Buddha's Footprint.") She slept by the fireside in the ashes, 
and after her magic excursions (managed by the White Bird on the 
hazel-rod tree) she went back and lay among the ashes, as usual. 
The German forms of the name of this divine heroine are endless accord- 
ing to dialect, and serve as one proof of her world-wide cosmic character. 
Aschenputtel, Aeschengriddel, Aschenbr6del, Ascherling are some of the High 
Dutch names given by the Grimms.* In Piatt- Deutsch the forms are Asken- 
piister, Askenboel, Askenbiiel. In Holstein, Aschenposelken ; in Pomerania, 
Aschpuk ; in Upper Hesse, Aschenpuddel ; in Swabia, Aschengrittel, Aschen- 
gruttel, Aeschengrusel ;' in Danish and Swedish, Askesis ; in Shetland (Jamieson) 
Assiepet, Ashypet, Ashiepattle ; in Nonvegian, Askepot. But it by no means 
follows that a tale always hangs by these terms in these various tongues. 
Aschenprodel and Aschenpossel are boys, just as Ivan is ; and so are Eschen- 
griidel, Aschenbrodel (Luther), Aschenbaltz, Aschenwedel ; and in Finnish he 
is Tukhame or Tukhimo (tukka = ashes). 

To return to the hearth itself. One of the plagues in the 
Mabinogion is a great cry which is heard on May-Night above 
every hearth in the isle of Britain, and which, piercing the hearts of 
men, turns them to palefaced weaklings, and deprives of their 
reason the women with babes at the breast, the young men, and 
the maidens.* The stone of Tara (see p. 192 supra) also screams 
all over the land when the true king by right divine steps upon it. 
These stones are thus divinely animated, voiceful. I have another, 
a classic, cry from a hearthstone in mind, but I cannot lay hands 
on my note of it, and memory refuses just now to answer at the 
call. The fighting phrase of ** pro aris et focis " seems thus to take 

* Mrs. Margaret Hunt's ed. 1884, i, 366. 

* The patient Grizzle, Griselda, Griselidis, and so on, seems to belong here. 
' J. Loth, Mabimg. 1889, i, 176. 

Digitized by 


366 The Night of the Gods. {Polar 

on a much more definite and holy significance. Prof. F. Max 
Muller points out that the first idea of house was (in the Sanskrit 
word harmya) fire-pit, and then hearth.' (The term "pit" here is 
difficult to receive.) The hearth round which the Maruts have 
their places {RigVeda, vii, 56, 16) must be the celestial navel. 
In the Finnish sacred hymn of the birth of the primeval Bear, " a 
maiden walked along the air's edge, a girl along the navel of the 
sky, along the outline of a cloud, along the heaven's boundary."* 

If we consider the philological equation Sanskrit ndbhas, Greek 
v^^09, Latin nebula, OHG nebil, ON nifl-heim, OS nebo = Sky, 
Irish n^l — by the side of Sanskrit n^bhi, OHG naba, AS nafu, 
OPrussian nabis>^ it is not easy to avoid the conception that it 
may have been the navel of the heavens that came by extension 
to mean first the heavens, the sky ; and was then vulgarised into 
the clouds. But as no hint of this is met with among philologists, 
one is timid about the suggestion. Zeus N€<f>€\rjy€p€Ta, instead of 
being merely and weakly cloud-compeller, would then be heavens- 
compeller, or the compeller at the heavens-nave. This would quite 
accord with and also support my proposal (pp. 23, 46 supra) to 
consider Ouranos as an extension of oZpof;. 

It may be added that ndbhas being *sky,' we also have (RV. viii, 20, 10) 
vrsha nibhind used for the * strong-naved ' celestial chariot of the Maruts,* the 
forces, as I suggest, of the universe-machine. Again, in a significant passage, 
we have {RK i, 43, 9) " the Inmiortal, in the highest place of the Law, on its 
summit, in its centre (nibha)."* 

This interpretation of mine seems to be brought out very 
distinctly by a passage in the Satapatha-brdhmanc^ which much 
puzzles the commentators, who render it three different ways : 
'*may the Agni called Nabhas know!" "mayest thou know 
Agni's name Nabhas," and "the Agni of the Altar (vedi) is 
Nabhas by name (vider Agnir nabho nima)." This last is 
Siyana's and is derided by Dr. Eggeling, who says nabhas here 
means "apparently vapour, welkin." But vapour is not welkin 
(a word which conveys the ze^^/yting-round of the heavens), and 
nabhas has here most indubitably its navel meaning, and from the 
symbolic point of view S^yana was right. The navel-name here 
refers to the Agni-fire produced at the nave (see p. 361 supra and 

* Vedic Hymns 1891, 216, 217, 374. 

^ Magic Songs of the Finns y in Folk- Lore j i, 26. 

' Jevons's Schrader's Prehist. Aniiq, Aryans (1890) 339, 414. 

* Vedic HymnSf 1891, 487, 136, 515. ' Ibid. 419, 488. • Dr. Eggeling's ii, 118. 

Digitized by 



Myths:\ The Navels. 367 

"The Wheel" in Vol. II.); but Brahma is called navel-born 
(Nabhi-ja) as, by a naturalistic myth (to which we return presently), 
springing from the lotus that grows from Vishnu's navel, which 
again is that of the Universe. Furthermore, the priest in the Sata- 
patha (ii, 198) throws the two spits (of which we shall have more 
lower down) into the fire, with the words: "go ye to t)rdhva- 
nabhas," which also clearly means Agni as the uppermost-navel, for 
iirdhva-loka is one of the names of Swarga, the central heaven of 
Indra ; the Vedic Ordhva meaning erect. 

Dr. Eggeling here again fails, as I venture to think, in catching the symbolic 
drift, saying that " Urdhvanabhas (he who drives the clouds upwards, or keeps 
the clouds above, or perhaps he who is above in the welkin) is apparently a 
name of Viyu, the Wind." 

Plato's god sits in the centre on the Omphalos ; and we must not 
forget Isaiah's " he that sitteth above the circle, the chug, of the 
Earth, qui sedet super gyrum terrae" (xl, 22). In Job xxii, 12, 
the Vulgate has : An non cogitas qu6d Deus excelsior ccelo sit, et 
super stellarum verticem sublimetur ? J. L. Bridel's critical version^ 
was : Dieu, disais-tu, n'est-il pas ^lev6 par-dessus les cieux ? Ne 
voit-il pas au-dessous de lui la tete des ^loiles. Again (xxii, 14) 
circa cardines coeli perambulat (see p. 160 supra)^ which Bridel 
gave as : il se prom^ne sur la convexity des cieux, and Dr. Warren* 
as : " El walketh in the chug of heaven." The Revised version 
has " in the circuit (or on the vault) of heaven." 

We find also that in Finnish myth the supreme god Ukko is 
called, from his abode, Taivahan napanen, Navel of heaven, and in 
the great epic of the Finns, the KalevaLa^ that abode appears as 
tahtela, place of tahti, Estonian taht, the Polestar.^ (I shall just 
here again refer to the mention of taht at p. 219.) 

SANCTUARY. On a fine antique vase described by De 
Witte* a Wheel is suspended over Orestes taking refuge near the 
Omphalos (see p. 363 supra). It is clear to me that this sym- 
bolism (as will be seen under "The Wheel" in Vol. II.) is indi- 
cative of the Cosmos turning like a wheel round the omphalos- 
pivot, the nave, of the north celestial pole. 

» Firmin Didot, i8i8, p. 84. 

' Paradise Founds 202. ' Schiefner-Castr^n, Finnish Mythology^ 32, 33. 

* ^liie des tnon. ceramogr. p. 25. 

Digitized by 


368 The Night of the Gods. {Polar 

An extremely archaic tradition said that Dionusos was buried under the 
Omphalos at Delphoi or under the Mantic tripod there.* Apollo as the knower 
of the future was often depicted seated on the omphalos or the tripod. Apollo 
and H^raKles wrestle for the tripod at the conical omphalos in numerous bas- 
reliefs.* Apollo shoots the python through the tripod, from which hang chains, 
on a coin of Crotona. He is shown seated before the net-covered conical 
omphalos (on which is perched the Bird) in a Greco-Etruscan composition.' 
The Corsini vase also shows Orestes seated on the netted omphalos.' Dionusos, 
whether as *Ope«)r, 'Opcw^in/r, Ovpc<rt<^tn;f, 'Op«<rictor or ^Op4<rnjs was clearly 
a mountain-god,^ and so therefore must Orestds have been. This almost 
equates him with Dionusos ; and I must not leave the point unnoticed that a 
connexion through 3por « Svpos is thus possible and likely with Ouranos (see 
pp. 23, 46). (Some of the authorities for the Delphian ofKJyakbs yrjs are Pindar, 
PyfA, iv, 4 ; vi, i ; viii, 3 ; xi, i. itschylus, Eumen, v, 40. Pausanias, 
X, 16, 2.) • 

The Orestes myth reappears in Ireland in the legend of the large 
stone at " Dunsang " (Louth) which bears a rude resemblance to a 
chair. It is called the. Madman's Stone, and lunatics are seated on 
it to bring back their reason.* Pausanias (v. 18) said that one of 
the subjects represented on the Kv^kXri of Cypselus (as to whose 
myth see "The Arcana") was the flight of Helend daughter of 
Zeus and Leda (L^d^), and sister of Castor and Pollux ; with her 
pursuit by MeneLaos, brother of AgaMemnon. In Delaborde's 
Vases de Lamberg^ ii, pi. 34, this subject is depicted ; and we see 
Helen taking refuge near the altars, and on the point of grasping 
the sacred Tree standing near by (Guignaut's Creuzer, plate 223). 
It is impossible to ignore the resemblance this engraving suggests 
to the children's game of tig-touch-wood (see pp. 300, 307 supra). 
I also point to an engraving in Saglio's Dictionary (i, 351) of 
" Orestas " seated on the altar of Apollo at Delphoi, with the 
sacred (laurel) tree behind.® The Sanskrit (neuter) sadma, seat, 
is frequently used in the Rig Veda in the sense of altar, and the 
two sadman! of heavens and Earth are also mentioned.' These 
would therefore seem to be the celestial and terrestrial navels. 
Edrts (Enoch) having, in Persian Moslem legend, got into 
paradise alive by playing a trick on Azrayll, the angel of 
death, refuses to be ejected, and "taking refuge near a Tree" 
said that " unless the creator of paradise and hell removes me, this 

> Miiller, Orckom, 383. * K. O. Muller, Handbtuh §§ 96, 20. 

» Saglio's DicL i, 321, 399. * F. Lenormant in Saglio*s DicL i, 605. 

* Lady Wilde's Ancient Cures ^ 6*r., 1890, p. 70. 

• Monum. del. Inst, 1857, pi. 43 ; 1846, pi. 30 ; 1861, pi. 71. 
' Prof. F. M. MUller's Vedic Hymns i, 92. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Navels. 369 

place I shall not quit"^ We doubtless have here the omphalos 
and the supremely sacred tree that represents the Universe-axis ; 
and the sanctuary there afforded accords with all that is here 
said about the quietude and undisturbance of the pole infra, and 
p. 6 supra. Again the Medio tutissimus ibis (see p. 144) recurs to 
the mind ; and this instance helps us much towards a true con- 
ceptioji of the full signification of the deity-names and idol-names 
of Tutanus, Tutelina, Tutunus. 

Tutlcus, the most high, was ^hown by Lanzi {Sagg. di lingua Etrusca 
ii, 619) and Rosini {Dissert, Isagog. 38) to be a word of the Osk tongue. 
Meddixtuticus was the supreme magistrate (? god) of the Osks (Festus, and 
Muller, Etrusk. i, 29). M. Michel Br^al* says Meddix designates the supreme 
magistrate both in Campanian and in Volscian, and is a most frequent word in 
Oskan inscriptions. He connects the meaning of med with " to have care-of, 
to reign-over." But I think this idea of protection is secondary, and is to be ex- 
plained as I have suggested at p. 145 supra. The town of Equus-tuticus, too, 
thus irresistibly suggests a supreme central horse-god. 

The Roman goddess MaTuta has been absurdly connected with Minerva 
and the dawn. The true due is given in this Tuticus, the Great, the Highest. 
Ma- means mater (as shown below for Kubel^), and thus Mater MaTuta 
contains a pleonasm. The Ovidian connexion of the Osk MaTuta with the 
Greek In6 (daughter of Kadmos) and LeukoThe^ (White-goddess) seems 
purely academical. Tuta is also, of course, connected with the sense of guardian, 
protector. The god Tutanus, who must belong to the same family, was said to 
be Hercules, by Nonius Marcellus ; and of course Tutunus (also an alias of 
Priapus) must here be included, with the tutulus worn on the flamen's head- 
dress and the female coiffure. Tutela, a goddess whose tall-pillared temple was 
at Bordeaux, and Tutelina, Tutilina or Tutulina, who picked up the stones 
flung from heaven by Jupiter, and was therefore the Roman farmer's insurance- 
agent against hail-stones, belongs to the same class ; and I shall certainly nctte 

down here that the Egyptian word tut o ^ c^ v^ meant father, and 

create. And the " Mutinus Titinus " of Festus, who had a chapel in Rome 
where the women offered sacrifices to him, must also be here set down. Mutinus 
or Mutunus (from mutus) was a title of Priapus and of the phallus.* Titinus 
seems clearly Tutunus ; and Festus said the Titiensis tribus took their name 
from Tatius (see p. 219 supra)y and they were also called Tatienses. Therefore 
Titius from Titus •=- Tatius, and this casts quite another aspect upon the 
etymology of Tn-dv. ^^^^^^^^^ 

An interesting series of conclusions may, I think, be deduced 
from an Irish instance of the Chinese Middle-Kingdom. I have 
already recorded at p. 272 how Merlin by his magic transported 
the pillar-stones of Kilair to Stonehenge, and how that castrum of 

* Rauzat'US-Safa^ 71. * Z>j Tables Eu^^ms (1875) ?• ^ 

' Lactautius, i, 20; St Aug., Civ. Dei, iv, 11 ; Priapea, 74. 

2 A 

Digitized by 


370 The Night of the Gods. [Polar 

Kilair (on the hill of Uisnech ff was called the stone and umbilicus 
of Hibernia, as if placed in the midst and middle of the land, medio 
et meditullio. It was a navel, and Stonehenge was therefore a navel 
also. In the Old Irish mythic tales one may pick up numerous 
other instances of this important and universal Middle. The great 
hall of Tara was called Meath- or Mid-court, Miodhchuarta (pro- 
nounce, Micdrta). In Lochlann in the North is the hill of Miodh- 
chaoin (or Midkena), jealously guarded by Miodhchaoinn and his 
three sons. A great battle in the war-in-heaven is waged on this 
hill, where Brian cleaves Miodhchaoin*s helmet and head through 
and through. Three shouts are given on the hill by the victors. 
Miodhach the son of the king of Lochlann enchants Finn, but is 
killed by Diarmait with a spear-thrust through his body.* 

In Welsh myths, Lludd is counselled by his brother Llevelys to measure 
his island of Britain in length and breadth, and at the spot which he finds to be 
the exact centre, to dig a hole and bury a vat of hydromel. He finds the 
centre to be at Rytychen, now Oxford (England),' whicfi was thus a hub even 
before Boston (Mass.). The second of Britain's names was Isle of Honey. 
Meath itself, " the beautiful seat of brave NialFs sons " (see p. 39 
suprdf where this Kilair navel stood, was anciently the central 
one of the five divisions of Ireland, and is called Media by 
Giraldus Cambrensis,* and it would thus be the Middle-Kingdom. 
Furthermore the strange words connected with it — medi-tullium 
and medi-tullus — can only be made sense (for me here) by calling in 
the third fabulous rex of Rome, Tulius Hostilius (grandson of 
Hostus Hostilius by Hersilia). The explanation of Hostus and 
Hostilius as " enemy " and ** inimical " is most unsufficing, and 
the statement that Hostilina was a goddess who evened the com- 
ear5 (I) is, at least on the surface, silly in the extreme. It seems to 
me to be here important that Festus* says Tulius Hostilius was 
binominis, that is had a dual name '* cui geminum est nomen." Now, 
could Hostus be a very archaic or dialectic form oikasta, spear ? In a 
corrupt passage, Festus® seems to connect Tulius Hostilius with 
divine weapons, that is with a shower of stones that fell in or on the 
Mons Albanus. This for me is a shower of aerolites in the 
White heavens-mountain. He also mentions the Hostilii Lares. 

* O'Cuny, Manners^ ii, 13, 151. 

' Dr. Joyce's Celtic Romances^ 55, 60, 89 to 91, 207. 

* J. Loth» Les Mabinogion^ 1889, i, 179, 180, 70. 

* Topog, Hibem, Dist. iii, c. 4. 0*Curry, Manners^ i, p. xcix. 

*«s.v. Binominis, * s.v. Ncvendiales feria. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'] The Navels. 37 1 

Remember that it was Tullus Hostilius who with Metius Sufetius^ 
arranged the combat of the spear-god triad the Curatii (curis = 
spear) with the Horatii (adjectival form from hora, hour = time- 
gods, zodiacal powers?). Metius is an adjectival form meaning 
**of the middle," and sufes meant judge at Carthage. Metius 
Sufetius too was the dux of the Albani, that is the leader of the 
white star-gods. And this I interpret as a war-in-heaven between 
tlie axis-powers and the rotating-heavens powers. This again tells 
for Hostilius as a spear-^i^x^ god. 

It is very pleasing to me subsequently to find this conjecture borne-out by 
Dr. O. Schrader's equation of the Latin hastatus with the Umbrian h^statir, 
h^Tstatu. Recites Brugmann's G^rK«^/>^ i, 373 (Jevons's Schrader's PrehisL 
Aryan Anttq, 1890, 228). 

This would at once make all clear, and give us a Medi- 
Tullus hastilius as a central spear-axis god. But what is tullus ? 
Is it connected with tutulus ? The only suggestion that is usable 
here is that tullus is another form of tellus, the Earth, and that 
medi-t«llus is (what it signified, according to Festus) medi-tellus, 
which I maintain to have been originally the centre of the Earth. 
Festus seems to give it the acquired loose meaning of * inland.* 
We get a confirmation of the subordinate (terrestrial) status of 
Tullus where the lightning-fire descended at the prayers of Lars 
Porsena* and of Numa Pompilius, to burn their sacrifices, but 
destroyed Tullus when he attempted the same * business.'* 
Tellus itself was never, or hardly ever, used except in poetry, which, as 
before urged (p. 14) is a great proof of extreme age. Tullus (except as a 
proper name) only survived in medi-tullus, I believe. Have we yet another 
form of the word in the name of the dux, the leader, of the Etruscan Veji (or 
Ovrfioi^ see p. 280 supra\ 7<?/i^mnius, or Lar or Lars Tolumnius, who was also 
an augur, and belonged to the " camp " of Tumus (see Index), otherwise the 
field of the rotating heavens. Tullus Hostilius besieged Veji.* 

* 5lifetius is K. O. Muller's reading in Festus, s.v. Sororium tigillum (see also 
p. w-^ supra), 

* The true form had only one n (Servius ad j^n. viii, 646). I divide the word 
PorSena, and make per (forth) —pro- in primus, Priscus ; Sena => old (Oldlrish sen, 
Lithuanian s8nas, Sanskrit sinas => senex). Lars PorSena then = the first-bom first-Old. 

* Plutarch Numa. Pliny Hist. Nat, ii, 54 ; xxxviii, 4. Livy i, 12. Valerius 
Maximus ix, 12, I. 

* Festus, Septimontio^ citing Varro. Livy i, 27. The Veji were considered so 
ancient that Florus doubted whether they ever existed, and their plural name had come 
to be taken as that of their town. The name must belong to veho to carry along, to 
wall ; and I should apply it to the gods who carry-round the heavens, the chariot-gods in 
fact (vea, veha — way ; vehes, cartload). Festus said Veia was an Osk or Tuscan word 
for a plaustrum. This has the advantage (see p. 280) of giving us some sort of an 

2 A 2 

Digitized by 


372 The Night of the Gods. \Polar 

We discern the connexion between the ////- and the tol- in the archaic 
forms which became parts of the conjugation oi fero carry, bring, bear — a verb 
with a truly vast and various number of uses. Its tuli and te-tuli which are, 
of course, utterly foreign iofero^ come from tulo and tulero or iolo and tolero 
alias tollo ; and its latus is supposed to come from tlatum, rXao), rX^oi 
Then //j/Io, to raise or carry-ofF, has also a great variety of senses, and has 
with it SMs-tufx and sub-latus. This is sufficient to show us that T//llus and 
Ti?llus are all one ; and that the meaning of bearing and carrying, or borne 
or carried is the only one we have to assign to Tullus. 

That being so, we find a Tulla who (^neid, xi) was a companion of the 
amazon Camilla. Camilla was a Volscian (the Volsci, of Latium or Etruria, 
were originally winged-gods ?) and was daughter of Casmilla ; and both names 
must have been Cadmilla (who belongs to the Section on " The Kabeiroi "). 
Here we find ourselves at once among foreign, Phoenician, most archaic powers. 
Then we have Tullia, daughter of Servus TuUius and wife of Tarquinius Super- 
bus (the Supreme Turner of the heavens) another primitive divinity. Servus 
TuUius must mean servant of Tellus (compare MeDus = Magnes, servant of 
MeDea, pp. 142, 143 sufira) and he was the patron of servants (slaves).* 
Where is the history, wrote Cicero,* that does not retail the blazing of the 
head of the sleeping Servius Tullius : caput arsisse Servio Tullio dormienti, 
quae historia non prodidit ? This I think must be a lost, or rather a strayed 
aurora-borealis myth. 

Pluto was called Tellumo, " because his wealth was in the Earth " and 
Tellurus was a god of the Earth who was also called Tellumo. Tellus is 
manifestly a masculine name, although always a goddess in the legends. In 
Egypt the Earth, Seb, was male, the heavens. Nut, female. 

Medina is another name which must, like Meath and the Vedic 
medin!, the Earth, convey a " middle " signification. The deriva- 
tion of Medini (in the Hari-vansd) from the medas^ marrow, of 
certain demons, is only a half-way house — both words must come 
from the root of Sanskrit mddhya, middle. And the word 
meditation too (which is sent to the base fnadh and root ma to 
think) may very well have to do with the ancient practice of 
introspecting at the navel, at the middle, to which we shall return 
directly; Medhd, one of the 13 wives of Dharma (the Law), 
means attention? I must here again refer to Saint-M^dard-la-Pile 

acceptable clue to Vejovis or VeDiJovis or VeDius, the hitherto mysterious god of the 
Etruscans. • The root is wagh or wag^ Sanskrit vah, draw, carry, drive ; Latin z'^ium 
sail. This Jove would thus be the Impeller of the Universe, and would have Ix^en 
dreaded because of his all-enveloping power, and not ** because ve- is an evil particle," 
which here, at all events, sounds nonsensical. This exposition accords in a striking and 
unpremeditated manner with the expounding of Zeus Nephelegereta at p. 366 supra, and 
is another of those many happy coincidences that make me believe ** there is something 
in" these theoties. 

* Festus, Servorum die^ fesius, ^ Dc Div, i, 53. * Bumoufs Bkdg.-ptir. iv, I, 49. 

Digitized by 


Myths:\ The Navels. 373 

at p. 284, and of course I need scarcely remind the Reader that I 
am now following-up and (I tnist) driving home the theories already 
stated as to all the central deities in Me- at pp. 143 et seq. 

The goddess MeDiTrina and her feast the MeDiTrinalia speak to me of 
a central triple or a three-named deity. Her curative powers may be com- 
pared with those of Cardea (p. 160 supra). The bringing of this deity-name 
from nudeor heal, as Varro and Festus did, is futile. The verbal descent of 
medeor is all the other way, from the sorceress MeDea, who may have been 
also this very MeDiTrina. Mr. E. R. Wharton curiously enough* has " medeor 
heal : * stand in the middle, stop the disease,' see nterus * central, essential ' " ; 
but I am very much afraid he does not mean what I mean. 

I have already mentioned the myth of Attius Navius at p. 113, 
but must now point him out as a Navel-god. We get some ink- 
lings of him as such in Cicero. He was a contemporary of 
Tarquinius Priscus,* that is the pristine Universe-twirler. His 
position was in the middle of the vineyard, in vinea media — which 
must be taken, I think, to mean the navel of the Universe— and 
looking towards the South (for he was in the North) he divided 
the vineyard with his lituus into four divisions, that is, traced an 
augur's templum (see " The North " infra). The birds, by augury 
of course, directed him which of the four divisions to choose ; and 
therein, " as we find it written, he found a grape of most wonder- 
ful magnitude,"* which we must perhaps take to be a figure of the 
Earth. Rex H^tilius, whom I maintain to be h^stilius (as above) 
and a spear-axis god, waged great wars upon his auguries.* But 
Romulus also parted out with his lituus the several districts, when 
he founded the urbs in the days of the feast of Pales* ; so that he 
is here, pro hac vice, a doublet, I say, of Attius Navius, the Old 
Man of the Omphalos. 

Attius is clearly an adjectival form of the god-name Attus = Attys, Atys 
= "hrvsy "Attvs, "Attis ; also called Hdiriras = wdiras ^ Srra father = wamrog 
grandfather. We have also of course Sanskrit attA mother, Gothic atta father, 
Old Frisian atta. Old German atto, Norse edda grandmother. Scythian pappa, 
Armenian pap, Phrygian Zeus Papas (which is almost an equation with the 
Phrygian Attis being also called Pappas). Papa is the Mangaian (South 
Pacific) first-mother. Papa is also the Earth of the Maoris, and she and the 
heavens, Rangi, are the all-parents.* I have already stated (p. 38) that the 
archaic Japanese form of haha mother must have been papa. This is on all 

* Etytiia LtUina^ 1890. ' See also Festus, s.v. Navia, 
' De Divinat. i, 17. ^ De Nat, Deor. ii, 3. 

* De Div. i, 17 ; ii, 47. And see ** Divine Names in Pal." p. 43 supra, 

* Mr. Lang*s Myih^ Bit. and Bel. i, 195 ; ii, 29. 

Digitized by 


374 The Night of the Gods. [Polar 

fours with the Lydian name Mo» of Kvplkr) (D^M^tfir) the consort of the god 
Attis, which fid still survives in our ma and ma-ma doublets of mother. 
Kubel6 and Attis (whence, I say, the Latin adjectival Attius) were of course 
the Phrygian * first parents,' the father and mother, /Ae papa and mama. 

AcciuSy which was and is considered an alias of Attius^ reminds one of the 
Finnish Akka (see p. 38) the Universal Mother ; it is impossible to make it 
into Axius^ an adjective from axis, or Accius would thus classify itself with 
AxiEros, AxioKersos, and AxioKersa (whom we shall have later-on under 
" The Three Kabeiroi "). Of course we might, perhaps, apply the Finnish 
akka to these names also. It is in any case very noteworthy that Ukko the 
male consort of Akka (see p. 38 supra) is also a navel-god. 

Navius must be viewed, in accordance with all I have been here 
hammering-at, as retaining for us cosmically the sense of omphalos which we 
also have in nave (of a wheel) and navel. And this is why the Roman figtree 
was called Navia, as being a type of the central Universe-tree at the NaveL 
Its name did not (in despite of Festus s.v. Navia) come from Attius Navius, 
but both took their names from the navel. So did the Roman wood Naevia 
silva or nemora ; and I think we get in Festus (s.v. Naeviatn silvam) the real 
word we want, in his Naevus, but not as the name of a man but of the navel 
of the Earth. Unless indeed it was also the name of the navel -god. The 
central position of the god Attis Js of value to me here in regard to Attius, 
and it is proved by his sitting on the rock AgDos or AgDus, a name which 
must clearly be read with MeDus (p. 143) and which will be treated-of infra as 
the divine " Rock of Ages " from which the Universe is agged or impelled 
round. Kubel^, the consort of Attis, was also called AgDistis (Strabo, 567) 
from the same rock-mountain. 

Thus Attius Accius Navius — for I retain all the names — is the Old 
Father, the Axis-god, of the Omphalos. 

As to the stone-cutting myth of Attius Navius(p. \i7^suprd)y\ have 
since been fortunate enough to happen upon another exact parallel. 
King Athelstan gave Hakon a sword with hilt and handle of gold, 
and the blade still better, for with it Hakon cut down a millstone to 
the centre eye, and the sword thereafter was called Kvembite.^ 
This legbnd with its Eye (see infra\ and its Millstone (see " The 
Wheel ") clearly indicates the sword as an axis-symbol (see p. 36 
supra). It was not a * cut * but a * point ' that Hakon made. 

To deal now with the naturalistic signification of the corporeal 
navel, we have already (p. 367) had BrahmA as navel-born, and 
Vishnu's navel as that of the Universe, a figure which quite 
accords with the position of the Assyrian wheel-god Asshur in the 
Universe- Wheel, for his bodily navel is also the nave of the wheel.* 

* Stephen of Byzantium, s.v. fiaoravpa.- ' Heimskringla (1889) i, 394. 

' I^yard's Monuments^ pis. 14 and 21. We shall have tliis figure under "The 
Wheel-God 'MnVtJ. 11. 

Digitized by 


Myt/isJ] The Navels. 375 

This IS also very clear in a coin of Tarsus (figured by M. Goblet 
d'Alviella^) whither the design had clearly descended from the 
same source. 

Mammals issue, tied by the navel, from the part, the uterus, 
which is internally at the navel. And we might perhaps even 
explain the "taking refuge at the Omphalos^' as a going back to 
the mother. Thus the navel of the Earth would have a physio- 
logical significance qud the Mother-Goddess, the Mother-Earth. 
Diodorus Siculus mentions the Cretan omphalos, which was con- 
nected in the legend with a realistic tale about the umbilical cord 
of Zeus. One of the common and complex images of sacred HindCl 
art (to return again to what I have already stated) is also of a 
similarly naturalistic character, and shows Vishnu as NdrAyana, 
or Bhagavat as Purusha, floating on the waters, while there issues 
from the omphalos of the god a lotus-stem, and the creator Brahmd 
appears seated on the flower it bears.* There must thus be a close 
symbolic connexion between the cosmic navel we have been con- 
sidering and that of the human body, the importance of which led 
the Hesychiasts or Omphalopsyches of the 4th (and also, it would 
appear, of the 12th) century, among the monks of Mount Athos 
to practise meditation (a word already mentioned in this con- 
nexion at p. 372) on things divine by hanging the head on the 
breast, and looking fixedly at the navel, where all the powers 
of the soul concentre, until a commencing obscurity at length 
suddenly flashed into dazzling light. The monks of Mount Athos 
had no monopoly of this strange occupation. In Wilson's Rig 
Veda is the following passage: "Those which are the Seven 
Rays, in them is my navel expanded " (i, 272) ; a text which may 
have mystic reference to the seven bright stars of Ursa Major, 
and also to the adjoining northern polar navel of heaven, as well 
as to the actual navel of the human or divine meditaten* The 
placing of the soul in the belly is a widespread idea in the East, 
and the Papuans place the seat of intelligence *' in the midriff."* 
The Japanese word hara^ belly, also means mind or con- 
science, and also takes the place of our word * heart' in its 
secondary senses. The practice of harakiri or seppuku, death 

* Mig, des SymboUs, 1 89 1, p. 274. 

^ Moor's Hindis Pantheon ^ plate 7. Burnoufs BMg.-pur. i, 9. And see an 
Addition at the end of this volume. 

" See an Addition at the end of this volume. 

* H. H. Romilly's Verandah in N, Guinea, 61. 

Digitized by 


376 The Night of the Gods. {Polar 

by opening the abdomen, which we somewhat dully call the happy 
despatch, doubtless arose, perhaps sacrificially, out of such a 
belief. It is not confined to Japan. Vambery describes^ how the 
infamous Abdul Samed Khan, who put Conolly and Stoddart to 
death, cut open his belly at the foot of the Emir*s throne at 
Khokand, to avoid imminent assassination. One of the Dervish- 
like tricks of the Lamas of Tibet is to cut themselves open, let 
the entrails gush out, and then rub the wound over, and hey presto 
all is whole again.* 

This naturalistic view was by no means confined to India, the East, and the 
Pacific. There was a relic called le saint nombril de Dieu in the church of 
Notre-Dame de Vaux at ChAlons, about which the canons brought an action 
against their bishop (J. B. de Noailles) in 1707.' (See the relics of Osiris 
p. 218 supra,) 

I think it is the physical congenital idea of the navel that we 
must chiefly use to expound this belief that the belly was the 
central seat of the organism ; but we must by no means leave the 
cosmic navel out of the count. The Romans prayed to Cardea 
(who must I think be viewed as the central goddess of the Cardo, 
the female element in this duality of Cardo + Cardea, see p. 160 
supra) to fortify the heart, reins, and all the viscera, either because 
(said Preller*) by the heart, cor, cardia, the stomach was under- 
stood, or because cor, cardia, meant the intelligence. The Japanese 
still use the Chinese term kanjin ff ^ (liver and kidneys) to imply 
a matter of the highest importance. 

The net-covered conical protuberant stone omphalos of Delphoi, 
before which Apollo holding a laurel-tree is seated, has already 
been mentioned. The illustration, which it is too late now to 
procure for insertion here, is taken from a well-known Italian 
publication^ by Daremberg and Saglio's Dictionary (i, 321) and 
there is a differing presentation of the netted stone, with the 
melancholy-mad Orestes seated on it, at p. 399 of the same volume, 
taken from the celebrated silver vase of the Corsini Museum. I 
regret the absence of these illustrations here, because of the theory 
to explain that extremely puzzling net which I am now about to 
develop The net in question was called the arfprjvov or ypijvov ; 

' Travels of a False Dervish (French ed. 1865), p. 351. 

« HazliU*s Hue's Travels, i, 191. ' Dulaure : Cultes, ii, 388. 

^ Rom, Myth, 604 (citing Lucretius vi, 1150 and Horace Sat. \\ 3, 29, 161 ; he also 
refers to the apologue of Menenius Agrippa). 

* Alonumenti delT Inst. Arch, i, ]A. xlvi. 

Digitized by 


Myths.'\ The Navels. 377 

but the term applied especially to the woollen net (or knitted?) 
over-garment worn by diviners and servers of Dionusos. The 
word was not generally used for any of the nets of the ordinary 
occupations of men ; for instance Schrevelius did not give either 
form of the word. Still it has been suggested to me that it may 
be connected with aypev^o^ aypieo to catch in hunting or fishing, 
which again hangs on to aypa chace, capture, booty. But this 
view would condemn one to go round in a circle from which no 
issue is seen. 

Now my notion is that the navel-net had a sacrificial origin, and 
that it may have been the net-like slight strong membrane well 
known to butchers as * the caul,' which covers the navel-fat and 
the intestines. By some curious survival of a doubtless once 
ritualistic practice, this * caul * is still used in butchers' shops to cover 
and shall I say decorate the carcase of a lamb or a calf, and is 
sent out with the joint of veal or lamb, to serve as a protective 
covering to the meat at the fire, and prevent it " from drying up " 
(says a cook), " from burning " (says a butcher). There need be 
no doubt that butchers, who were once of course sacrificing priests 
and their aids, traditionally continue practices which had their 
origin in a sacredly significant ritual. The Jewish butchers are 
to the present day the subordinates of the Rabbis, and still carry 
out their ritualistic sacrificial commands ; else the meat is not 
kosher^ and it must not be eaten by strict Jews. The Hindu sacri- 
ficer also girded a rope of kusa-grass round the sacrificial post at 
the height of his own navel.* 

Let us now take up the Satapatha-brdhnana^^ as one of the oldest 
authorities left us upon the minutiae of the butcher-priest's duties, 
and we shall find that so soon as " the victim had been quieted," 
that is, strangled or suffocated to death, the washing of the ten 
external organs took place : among them " the navel, that 
mysterious (opening of a) vital air." Then the very first thing 
done after cutting it open was to *' pull out the omentum (vapd) 
from the middle of the victim " and skewer it on the two omentum- 
roasters, vapishrapanis, wooden spits. (An ancient gloss on this 
explains that a tree grew out of the first victim slain in the 
beginning by the gods.) They then roasted the omentum at the 
north side of the fire. When it was basted, the drop-verses were 

' Satapatha-brdhmanaf ii, 172. 

^ Dr. EggeliDg*s Version, ii, 190 to 200. See also " The North *' infra. 

Digitized by 


378 The Night of the Gods. [Polar 

recited to Agni (see p. 361 supra as to Agni's position at the navel) 
because the dripping-drops were impetrative of the rain-drops. 
When the omentum was roasted, it was cut off the wooden spits, 
and a prayer was recited to Agni and Soma (see p. 290 supra and 
the Index) "for the omentum, and fat of the buck." "Having 
offered the omentum, he lays the two spits together and throws 
them after (the omentum into the fire) with 'consecrated by 
SvahA, go ye to tTrdhvaNabhas !*" (as to which last word, see 
p. 367 supra). 

The exposition of this in the Satapatha-brAhtnanay like all its 
other similar expositions, is proof positive that long before that 
book of instructions was compiled, all tradition of the meaning of 
the ritual had come to be completely lost. " The reason why they 
perform with the omentum is this. For whatever deity the victim 
is sacrificed, that same deity is pleased by means of that fat ; and 
being thus pleased, waits patiently for the cooking of the other 
sacrificial dishes." 

The next thing done therefore with the victim is to cut it up 
into these " other sacrificial dishes " ; and I have indeed written this 
Navel section wholly in vain if the Reader cannot see for himself, 
without my further fatiguing him, that the cosmic and genital 
reasons are amply sufficient to account for the superior significance 
and priority of the navel-fat of the omentum in the sacrifice and 
burnt offering. These then are some of my reasons for suggesting 
that the omphalos-net represents the membrane that covers the 
omentum-fat of the sacrifice. This too explains the umbles, French 
nombles (low-Latin numbile, numbulus, nebulus) of the deer and 
other venison. The word comes from umbilicus, alias mimbilicus.^ 
And 6fMfxiK6s must have been also vofKtiak6s, because although the Greek and 
Latin root was ombA, the corresponding words in other languages come from a 
root nadA, which should probably be regarded as the older form.' {VmhWicus 
is adjectival, from some lost umbilus or ombolos = ^fu^oXdr.) Here is a list of 
some of these words in n, taken from Skeat and E. R. Wharton : 
Icelandic • nof , . nave 



* Littr^ fell into an error in bringing nombles from lumbulus, dim. of lumbi the 
loins ; but perhaps the words are related. ' Curtius i, 367, in Skeat. 









nafle . 


Digitized by 



The Navels. 379 


nafa, nafu , wheel-nave 

nafela . . navel 


navel, " dim. of nave " (or query nave-hole ?) 

Old High German 

napa . . nave 


nabe , . nave 

nabel . . navel 

Dutch . 

naaf . . nave 


navel . . navel 

Lettish . 

naba . . centre 


nabhi, navel, wheel-nave, centre. 

n^bhis . . centre 

nibhilam . navel {unauthenticated). 

[The root nabh (= nab) means * to swell,* and the bodily navel of the young 
mammal of course protuberates at first. So did the omphalos-stone of 

As for words without the «, we have besides umbilicus and ofu^aXor the 
Latin umbo boss, and the Midlrish imbliu navel. There is one more, auger^ 
which will be instantly dealt with. 

To dwell a little longer on this my omentum-' caul ' theory. 
Fick^ supplies a very pointed analogy here in the similarity between 
BeO'irpoiro^ priest, and TrpairiBe^ midriff. Would the theo-propos 
have been originally the butcher-priest who dealt with the omentum- 
fat, just as the HindCl priest did ? And now I am going to outstrip 
even that by suggesting that -^ftf^r comes from the same radical 
sacred ideas, and the same verbal root as navel. In the first place 
no successful attempt at an etymology of augur has ever been made. 
Next I say that it is the same word as our auger a boring-tool. 

Our English auger has lost an n (like adder) and was nauger, Halliwell has 
" navegor an auger, A.D. 1301." The Anglo-Saxon was nafegir = nafa wheel- 
nave -h gdr a piercer, the tool being used for boring the nave-hole of a wheel. 
(We have the same %ix in garfish and garlic.) The Old High German was 
napager = napa nave -J- g^r spear-point ; the Swedish is nafvare =: a lost nafgare 
= naf nave -|- a word allied to Icelandic geirr spear. Dutch avegaar auger 
was navegaar = naaf wheel-nave -h (obsolete) gaar spear-point ; but the Dutch 
also has another word for auger, naafboor, where the n survives, and boor is from 
borento bore. The Icelandic for auger is nafarr. (Skeat and£. R. Wharton.) 
Thus auger means *the nave-hole piercer,' and my suggestion is 
that the priest' Augur was also a nave-hole piercer^ the cutter-up of the 
victim^ the maker of the first cut at the navel And I therefore 
advance the theory that his Auguries were originally from immediate 
observation of the intestines that he so exposed to his view, and not 
from observing the flight of birds, Aug^r has naught to do 
etymologically with auspicium = avi-spicium (avis -h spicere, the 

> Eiym, Worierb, first ed. 

Digitized by 


380 The Night of the Gods. [Polar 

spying of birds). And must we not thus, diagnose a connexion 
between omen and omentum ? See also the striking fact about 
the making of a navel in the HindCl altar under '*The Augur's 
Templum " infra, 

I shall just note down here, and leave it so, that f^o^ also = boss (as well 
as the Latin umbo). Why should not <^KiXX<Jr belong to this, and <^oy belong 
to 6fKf)(iK6s ? Recollect that Sanskrit hAbhilas = cunnus. ^a\os was the cone 
or crest of a helmet, and (paKbg splendid bright white, may have got that signi- 
fication by extension from the navel of the heavens. 

I must also set down here, with reference to the heavens-River Ism^nos 
flowing from the omphalos, p. 342 supra, and the incidental mention of the gdm^z 
above (p. 364), that the Welsh afon river, the English Avon, and the Latin 
amnis river are put to the same root as o/t^oXAy. The Midlrish abann is the 
same word as avon, so was the Gaulish ambe, rivo ; and the Sanskrit was 
ambhas, water.> Remember that (as above) the Greek and Latin root omdA, 
(nasalised form of adA) to which belong umbilicus and 6fi<f}ak6s, comes down 
side by side with root nadA of similar sense. We shall be inundated with this 
under "The Heavens-River" in Vol. IL 

One more point, and this complicated and I fear wearisome 
Section closes. The Navel must be connected not alone with the 
Net but with the Veil of the Universe, which will be fully dealt 
with in Vol. II. The 5th century Nonnos of Panopolis,* who may 
have taken his information from Pherecydes — in which case it 
would have been a thousand years older — narrated how Harmonia, 
the All-Mother, wove in her palace this cosmic Veil : *' Bent over 
the artful loom of Athene, Harmonia wove a peplos with the shuttle. 
In the stuff which she wove she displayed first earth, with its 
omphalos in the centre," and so forth. When Phrixos and Helld 
fly on the golden-fleeced Ram, their heavens-mother Nephel6 is 
seen, on a Naples vase,^ extending her Veil over them. (See what 
is said above, p. 366, as to Zeus Nephel^-gereta.) 

[On the subject of the Navels, the reader will find much interesting dis- 
quisition in Dr. Warren's Paradise Found, to which I am indebted for some 
general ideas and several illustrative facts.] 

* E. R. Wharton's, Etyma Grceca and Latina, 

' Dionysiaca xli, 294. He wrote when a pagan, but became a Christian afterwards. 
' Heydemann Vasen des Mus, nazion, NeapoL No. 31 12, in Saglio's DicL i, 416, 

Digitized by 


Myths?^ The Rock of Ages. 381 

2. — The Rock of Ages. 

THE Japanese heavens-Rock Dwelling, ame-no-Iha Ya, in 
the KozhikiiXf 16) must I think be taken to be the spot in 
the heavens which is fixed and eternal as a rock — that is the 
Northern celestial centre wherein the axis is unshakeably fixed. 
This is confirmed by the fact that the Iha Yk is ** near the source 
of the peaceful heavens-River " (i, 32) which, as will be shown in 
its section, is the Milky Way proceeding from the Northern 
celestial pole. The Chinese Li Kki^ as to which see p. 390 infra, 
says that heaven — that is the heavens, as I always say here for 
clearness — are hollow in the centre, but solid in their heights.^ 

The entrance to the Norse Asgard, the garden or enclosure of 
the Ases or great gods, is by HiminBiorg, heavens-Rocks,* which 
is clearly an identical myth. I have already (pp. 270, 280 and 
363) pointed to HeimDall as an alias of this HiminBiorg, and 
connected it indubitably with the heavens-omphalos, which shows 
that all my present arguments hang together. The Japanese 
phrase for the throne of god, ame-no-Iha Kura, the seat of the 
heavens-Rock {Kozhiki i, 34) must be the same mythic locus. In 
all these cases, * Rock ' implies immobility, the fixature of the Pole, 
the rock in which the Axis turns. Compare Isaiah xxvi, 4 : "In 
Yah Yahveh is an everlasting Rock, or a Rock of Ages." 

It is indispensable to bear in mind here that Up^^^ l^oly, originally meant 
strong, mighty.' So that all-mighty and all-holy would be equivalent ; and so 
we obtain the highest possible sanction for " Might is right." Sanskrit ishiras 
= strong ; and Upoy is also coupled with lao/w warm'* ; so that here we have 
the central rocks, the central fire, and the central Holiness and Might all 

These heavens-Rocks must be also the Kvavkai irirpai men- 
tioned by Homer and Euripides, which guard the entrance of the 
Pontos or heavens-River, or Universe-ocean. Through them the 
good ship Argo came forth.* And it will presently be seen that 
they are also Dual Rocks, like the Dual Pillars of which we have 
already had ample evidence. 

* Harlez &col€ philos, de la Chine ^ l6l. ' Gylfa Ginnmgy 21 1, 240. 
' Curtius Etym. No. 614. ^ Wharton's Etyma Graca. 

* Argonautika (Wellauer) i, $ ; ii, 318, 565. 

Digitized by 


382 The Night of the Gods. \Polar 

The Japanese parallel to this mythic heavens-ship the Argo is the Boat of 
the heavens-Rock (or rocks), ame-no-Iha Bune (or -Iwa Fune) ; for so I render 
it, and do not consider that the word * rock, iwa ' solely indicates the material 
or the indestructibility of the boat as being A. i for ever. However Mr. Satow,» 
the value of whose opinion none will dispute, has pointed out that the word iwa 
or iha as used in the compound names of Japanese Kami is held to mean 
'strong, enduring, eternal.' 

(As examples of my view may be cited : iwa-shiki, the rock or mountain 
deer ; iwa-ki (rock- tree) the coriander ; iwa-momo (rock-peach) the cowberry ; 
iwa-renge, a kind of rock-moss ; iwa- take, rock-mushroom ; iwa-tsubame, the 
rock-swift (swallow). The Kami-name Iwa-tsuchi seems to me to be * Rock- 

But it must be regarded as most strange that there is an actual rock-boat in 
the Odyssey (xiii, 147 etc), where Poseid6n smites the ship of the Phaidkians (or 
Phaiakians) into a Stone in the likeness of a swift ship, that all mankind might 
marvel. (Note also that this ship's crew numbered 50 and 2 — Odyss, viii, 35, 
48, and that she issues from the stream (^(Jor) of the river (trorofuJff) 6keanos, 
that is the Universe-river.) He also at the same time overshadows their city 
Scheria with a great mountain. Now I interpret ax^pta here as Order (of the 
Universe) — (rx^p^ orderly, a-x^p^s order ; and it must be remembered that the 
Phai6kians are also said to have dwelt {Odyss. vi, 4) of old in wide-musicked 
HyperEia, €v €vpvx<Jpy ^ncptlj^, near the Cyclopes, which I would interpret as 
the heavens, or harmonic sphere. Pherecydes (frag. 55) made Hyperfls (the 
son of Phrixos, strong, bristling ; son of Melas, black) live at the fountain 
HyperEia which was so called after him. Scheria was also Corcyra (Kerkura,